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Interview with Simon Heaps

Interview with Simon Heaps

My Interview with Simon Heaps, Wheelchair Table Tennis Player and Bader Grant Recipient, took place on the 29th September. I talked to Simon about his life, his amputation, his sport and his forthcoming Wheelchair Table Tennis Marathon.

Simon Heaps: Inspiring amputees, Table Tennis players and ‘old ‘uns’ alike!

How does it feel to go into hospital expecting to lose a toe and, 6 weeks later, to have had your leg amputated? Do you sit around and feel sorry for yourself or do you decide to make the best of it, take something you have always been good at and go about playing it from a wheelchair with all the relearning challenges and frustrations involved? And then decide to take that learning to competing in the sport at the highest level? And then set about funding yourself to do that? Want to find out? Then download the Interview with Simon Heaps.

Simon is courage, determination and dedication personified and I felt privileged to talk to him. It was a fascinating conversation and continued long after Zoom should have cut us off thankfully as I was enjoying talking to him so much I almost forgot to discuss the imminent Table Tennis Marathon!

It’s a continual learning curve for me and that’s why I practice so much. Trying to get better at wheelchair management. The playing itself isn’t too bad, if you’re in the right place!  Simon Heaps, Wheelchair Table Tennis Player

Download the Interview with Simon Heaps by clicking HERE or going to the link below. The link will open in a new tab.

Simon is a totally self-funding and absolutely dedicated athlete and we are proud and delighted to have been able to support him on his journey. Self-funding to International standard is a very expensive process as you’ll see from the interview so, please, if you’d like to reward his gruelling efforts to add to his funds this weekend please follow the link below. He will be extremely grateful for anything you can give.

I think, certainly as a disabled athlete, having a goal has really given me a purpose of doing something. Simon Heaps

Be sure to watch out for the follow up interview…


SIMON HEAPS – TABLE TENNIS MARATHON

“Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.”

6.00pm Saturday 24th October – 6.00pm Sunday 25th October

Those of you who have been keeping up with our news will be aware that this coming weekend Simon will be undertaking his Table Tennis Marathon. (You can visit the previous post where you will find more inspiration, using the link you’ll find below.)

Initially, this was going to be a far larger gathering as there were going to be a lot of juniors supporting Simon but because of Covid restrictions and Table Tennis England restrictions, the building has to be Covid safe. This has meant that the team who will be undertaking the challenge has had to reduce to 8, who have all agreed to do the full 24 hours. Simon has just cancelled his training session on the Monday as he thinks he’ll have had enough Table Tennis over the previous couple of days…I think he might be right!

His main worry, apart from staying awake for the duration, is that 24 hours of playing Table Tennis in a wheelchair could give him the equivalent of bed sores. But he is determined to do it anyway, to reward the people who have had the faith in him to support  him. The team, which will include the extraordinary young player, Sophie, who can be seen giving Simon a run for his money in the attached video, are going to structure the event and hopefully make it more enjoyable by doing one hour of Table tennis followed by an hour of fun. This could take many forms and should provide some interesting photographs!

Each team member will be responsible for raising their own funds, which will all go into Simon’s kitty and, in return, players will be rewarded with Pizza, donated by a local Pizza Restaurant at 11.00pm to fuel them through the long night hours. Water, which will also be vital, is being provided by donation as well, and a lot of toast courtesy of Simon’s toaster! In the Covid induced absence of encouraging visitors, music will play continually to lift the spirits and keep the team awake. This will be very much a team effort with everyone helping and supporting each other. If one person is flagging the others have promised to rally round to boost their spirits and if somebody simply has to grab 40 winks there will always be one table played continuously for the full 24 hours. To comply with the regulations of continuous Table Tennis you’ve got to play for 55 minutes of every hour leaving just 5 minutes to “have a comfort break and grab a bit of food”. Is that the definition of ‘Fast Food’?!

It was wonderful and very enlightening to talk to Simon who has agreed to speak to me again following his Marathon. He is definitely, despite his protests to the contrary, a truly inspiring man, not just to aspiring Table Tennis players but to that often overlooked generation of the over 60s! We all wish him success and bottomless reserves of energy and determination with what will undoubtedly be a gruelling marathon.

To get you in the mood, here are 2 videos to show you how good Simon is – and don’t forget that he has only been using a wheelchair for less than 2 years. Imagine how difficult it must be to play with one hand while manoeuvring a chair with the other? He will deserve his place at the competitions.

The first is Simon training with his coach, the 2nd is Simon playing against young Sophie, an 11 year old powerhouse from Hungary, who will be joining him in the Marathon.

If you’d like to support Simon and help him raise money to continue self-funding to enable him to compete in the sport he loves and clearly excels at, you’ll find the link to his GoFundMe Page below.

Please keep an eye out for the follow-up interview when we can find out what it really feels like to play non-stop Table Tennis for 24 hours! (I’ll give him a bit of time to recover first!)


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