NHS hero Kim Daybell now bidding to qualify for Tokyo Paralympic Games

England's Kim Daybell plays a shot during the men's TT6-10 singles gold medal final table tennis mat

England's Kim Daybell plays a shot during the men's TT6-10 singles gold medal final table tennis match against England's Ross Wilson at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. - Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Two-time Paralympian and NHS hero Kim Daybell, who worked during the pandemic at the Whittington Hospital as a doctor on the NHS frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic, is one of seven British Para table tennis players bidding to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Nine British players have already qualified for the Paralympic Games on their world ranking and this week’s World Qualification Tournament in Lasko, Slovenia is the final opportunity for the rest of the Performance Squad to earn a qualification spot.

This is the first time that a para table tennis qualification tournament has been held for a Paralympic Games and with only one place available per class it will be "winner-takes-all", creating a unique challenge for the athletes in their first tournament for more than a year due to the pandemic.

While his British teammates have been training full time since August, Daybell has only recently returned to training with the team at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and acknowledges that his preparation has been far from ideal.

“I’m not where I want to be right now, so close to a big tournament,” he admitted. “I’d like to have more hours of training under my belt, but you can’t change the situation.


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"I’m just pleased to be in a position where I can be there and play after the year that I’ve had; just to be there physically fit and with a chance of doing well is enough for me so I’m looking forward to it.

"It would mean the world to me to go to Tokyo and would offer some closure after what has been a really difficult year, to have something positive at the end of it."

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