Billy Shilton has been included in a squad of 13 athletes to represent ParalympicsGB in the table tennis events in Tokyo next month.
The 22-year-old former Maidenhill student from Stonehouse is currently training in a bubble with the national team in Sheffield and received a wild card after narrowly failing to secure qualification at the World Qualification Tournament in Slovenia in June and will be competing in his first Paralympic Games.
“When I found out that I had been given a wild card I was so excited,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of weeks now for it to sink in. Seeing the kit and everything it is really nice to be involved in all the preparation so I can’t wait. Going to Rio as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme was brilliant – I think the Paralympics is something that you can only experience if you see it, so it was great to experience the environment and the atmosphere. Obviously, it will be a bit different this time but just to see everything and the scale of everything it will really help me in Tokyo for sure.
“I just want to take every match as it comes – play the best I can and hopefully the results will come. Ross (Wilson) and Aaron (McKibbin) have nurtured me from quite a young age when I first came to Sheffield so it is really nice to be playing team event with them and I’ve learned a lot from them. Everyone on the team gets on so well and that can only be a positive going into the Games, so I’m really excited.”
Training is intense as Shilton revealed: “Training usually consists of two sessions a day, two hours in the morning, two in the afternoon and a one-hour gym session in-between.”
Shilton will compete in the men’s class 8 singles and the men’s class 8 team events.
The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be staged from August 24th to September 5th.