Janette Manrara and Will Bayley - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Will conquers the foxtrot – and stays another week!

Paul Stimpson

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Strictly Come Dancing judges told Will Bayley he could be proud of himself after delivering a pulsating foxtrot on this week’s show.

And although the judges’ vote left him second from bottom of the leaderboard, the public vote ensured he and partner Janette Manrara are through to next week’s show.

They revealed on Sunday’s results show that they would be dancing their couple’s choice next week, which would be to Lukas Graham’s smash 7 Years.

The Paralympic champion said this had been his most challenging week on the series to date as he and Janette worked hard on what is a technically demanding dance – made more so by the arthrogryposis which affects all of his four limbs.

He even admitted to thinking it might be impossible for him to pull it off – but said it would give him huge confidence boost if he could do that.

In the end, Will overcame his struggles to deliver a flawless, if not quite flowing, performance to the song Senorita, the concentration showing on his face throughout. The dance earned a score of 24 as all four judges gave the pair a 6.

While Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli were reasonably complimentary but focused on Will’s movements being a bit staccato, the two female judges were more fulsome in their praise.

Motsi Mabuse told him: “You can be very proud of yourself. The foxtrot is such a difficult dance – don’t be hard on yourself, you did a great job.”

And Shirley Ballas added: “You kept one of the best postural lines I’ve seen. This isn’t an easy dance . . . there were no mistakes. Rest easy, you did a great job!”

Will told host Claudia Winkleman he hadn’t wanted to let his partner down, but Janette was quick to leap to his defence, saying: “He didn’t let me down, he’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met on Strictly Come Dancing.”

Table Tennis England is backing Bayley to help promote the sport to a new audience, and show that table tennis is for everyone. We are proud to encourage inclusivity throughout our sport, and we encourage all of our clubs to use disability-friendly facilities. For further information, visit our being inclusive section.

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