We’re delighted to share some very gratifying news from Wheelchair Table Tennis Player, Simon Heaps, who has just returned from the World AbilitySport Games in Thailand at the culmination of very successful year. Simon smashed it in Thailand!
As you’ll know if you’ve been following his story, Simon, who suffers from long-term Type 1 Diabetes, had to have his right leg amputated on May 29th 2019. He described the event as “life changing” but continued to compete in the wheelchair table tennis category of the sport he loves and, at 64, continued to beat players not just ranked considerably higher than him but also considerably younger! Losing his left leg less than 3 years later on Jan 13th 2022 he describes with typical understatement as “tough” and, along with the support of his family, he credits having a purpose in life as keeping him mentally sane. As a result, he was determined to continue to play and was competing again shortly after his amputation.
Now 68 he is the oldest player on the competitive circuit at his level but is showing much younger players that they write him off at their peril! He is an absolute inspiration in every way and the living embodiment of his motto:
Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it. Simon Heaps
World AbilitySport Games – Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand: 1st to 9th December
Simon was the only GB representative in his discipline of Wheelchair Class 5 Table Tennis so was travelling alone with no coach or practice partners, which makes his success all the more impressive. But still, Simon smashed it in Thailand returning as a bronze medallist. Read on for his recap:
- 47 countries participating across 11 sports plus 3 demo sports
- Approx 1500 disabled athletes in total
- Wheelchair Class 5 Table Tennis
- GB’s only representative in this discipline
- So travelling on my own with no Coach or practise partners.
- Totally self funded, and had to rely on your Charity Grant get me here !!
- Oldest player in tournament at 68 yrs young
Result: Bronze Medallist!
- Finished 2nd in my Group beating Korean and Macau China players and losing to eventual winner and World No 2 from Chinese Taipei .
- In Quarter Final I beat Thailand player, just two places below me in World Rankings 3-0.
- Semi Final was against Indonesian and World No 12 Hardianto and after losing the first 2 games 11/9,11/9 it was not to be and I had to settle for Bronze Medal.
Losing only to World Ranked No 2 and No 12 ( I am currently No 29) so proud of my achievement and certainly did it the hard way. Simon Heaps
We are so delighted to have been able to support Simon on his sporting adventure through our Bader Grant Scheme. What he has achieved is phenomenal and the fact that, apart from grants from DBF and other supporting charities, he has achieved it single-handedly as a self-funding athlete shows his total dedication and commitment and amplified his incredible results. We couldn’t be more proud and more honoured to have him representing the DBF logo. He has done us and all who have supported him proud and we know that Sir Douglas would have been so impressed with his dogged determination and refusal to be beaten. He has shown the Bader spirit in spades and Sir Douglas would have been behind him all the way.
Please join us in congratulating this hugely inspiring man. Well done, Simon!!
Simon being presented with his Bronze Medal at the World AbilitySports Tournament in Thailand, December 2023
Never one to rest on his laurels, Simon is already pressing ahead with plans for 2024. He has entered the Egypt Para Open, which will be held at the end of January, and has asked British Para Table Tennis if he can be approved to play in Kazakhstan, Italy and Spain in March dependent on his having the funds to compete. At the moment he doesn’t but he does still have his Go Fund Me Page and is hoping to raise funds for these 3 tournaments then
Beyond that is only a dream because of lack of funds… Simon Heaps
Please do support Simon if you can. He is playing his best table tennis and can take this even further. He has already spent all his savings pursuing this dream as a self-funding athlete and it would be sad to see him forced to give up before he’s ready. You’ll find a link to his GoFundMe Page at the bottom of this post.
LINKS (will open in new tabs)
- Read more about Simon’s journey on the DBF Website
- Article about Simon’s success in Table Tennis England on 8th December
- Simon Heaps GoFundMe Page: Help me compete for GB in Wheelchair Table Tennis