Bader Grant Recipient, Wheelchair Table Tennis player Simon Heaps has been competing around the world to raise his world rankings to qualify him to represent Team GB.
Simon was 64 and had very recently lost his leg as a result of diabetes when he determined to become the best Wheelchair Amputee Table Tennis player in the world. A thoroughly committed and talented athlete, he was making great progress when, very sadly, he had to have his other leg amputated. Simon is a true fighter with the Bader spirit in spades and, undaunted, he was soon back in his specially adapted wheelchair and competing again.
Dream it, Believe it, Achieve it – Simon Heaps
Since then he has been climbing up the rankings and recent successes include a Silver Medal in the Singles at the Copa Tango Para Open in Buenos Aires, Argentina…
This was followed by a Gold Medal and the title of European Veterans (over 40’s) Para Wheelchair Champion in Rimini, Italy…
Then, Silver in Singles at Copa Christina Hoffman Para Open in Cancun, Mexico…
Followed by Gold in Mixed Doubles at the same event…
This represents a phenomenal achievement, especially as Simon is now almost 67 and the oldest player competing at this level. He has also funded every aspect of these competitions himself.
Here, in Simon’s own words, is recent news from the world of Wheelchair Table tennis, a resumé of the whirlwind of his past few months competing, and information about his own funding and his latest fundraising venture which is not for himself but for a Military Charity. For this, he will do a Sky Dive… As he says, he must be mad to jump out of a plane as a double amputee but that’s Simon!
“New World Rankings go live today and I will have gone up after my results in Mexico and Argentina and it will also cement my position as GB No. 2 in World Rankings. I am 67 on the 17th August.
Also just came back from Thailand where although I did not do well I actually had match point against World No. 12 but could not convert it sadly. It would have been my best win ever but proves that I deserve to play against the best.
I have tournaments in Saudi Arabia and Greece in September; Brazil in October and Costa Rica in December. Sadly my fundraising account is empty and I desperately need to raise funds to enable me to play in any of these events. I anticipate I need to raise approximately £10,000 to cover these tournaments and ongoing coaching and equipment costs.
My turn to give back, so on the 19th August, 2 days after my 67th birthday, I am doing a Sky Dive to raise funds, not for myself but for a great charity called Pilgrim Bandits that support ex service men and women who are injured or needy and put their lives on the line to defend this great country of ours. I must be mad but going out of my comfort zone will be good for me and hopefully raise much needed funds for the Charity.” (Simon Heaps)
If you’d like to donate to Simon’s heroic effort on behalf of the Pilgrim Bandits, please visit his JustGiving Page. He would be extremely grateful for any donation whatever the amount. The link is at the bottom of this post. You will also find a link to their website where you can learn more about this wonderful charity.
If you’d like to support Wheelchair Table Tennis Player Simon Heaps himself so that this ambitious, dedicated and courageous man can see just how far his huge talent can take him (and strike a blow for the over 60’s at the same time!), please donate to his GoFundMe page or contact him personally for more information. It would be a tragedy in my opinion if, after years of supporting himself financially through his own fundraising efforts, he was forced to stop competing when he’s getting so near to reaching his goal. The link is at the bottom of this post and Simon would be hugely grateful for any donations.
Simon is an inspiration to the young and not so young alike. Please do support him if you can.
Links: (will open in new tabs)
- Pilgrim Bandits JustGiving Page
- Pilgrim Bandits Website
- Simon Heaps GoFundMe Page
- More posts on Simon Heaps
To contact Simon personally (he would be happy to tell you more about his story):