Wednesday, 15 September 2021 02:51

Dan Bethell returns to old school to show pupils his Paralympic silver medal Featured

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ONE of the world’s leading disabled badminton players is to go back to his old school next week to show off his Tokyo Paralympic Games silver medal.

Dan Bethell, 25, will visit Sheldon School in Chippenham, to show some of his old teachers his medal from the SL3 Badminton final.

He is expected to arrive at the school at around 11.45 for an early lunch with teachers and pupils.

A school spokeswoman said: “He will meet students, go into an assembly and potentially play some badminton with details to be finalised before the day.”

It is understood that Mr Bethell, who left the school in 2014 with four A levels, is keen for a rematch with PE teacher Rob Humphreys.

It’s likely to be a tough game for Mr Humphreys as Mr Bethell has risen through the ranks since taking up the sport at the age of 13 to become the world number two badminton player with a disability.

Mr Bethell suffers from cerebral palsy but, according to Sheldon School’s head teacher Neil Spurdell, he has never let his disability hold him back.

Mr Spurdell said: “Dan left school seven years ago and when he was here he played tennis against able-bodied students and nothing ever got in his way.

“He is a really lovely chap and he has already been in touch with our PE department to ask if he can come back to the school and show us his silver medal.

“He’s also looking for a badminton rematch against our PE teacher Rob Humphreys, so that should be fun to watch.”

“Everyone at the school is extremely proud of Dan’s achievements. It was fantastic to see him do so phenomenally well.”

Mr Bethell, who now lives in Bath, won a silver medal in the SL3 Men’s Single final at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games in Japan, after being beaten 21-14 21-17 to the gold medal by Pramod Bhagat from India.

Ranked second in the world in Singles, he is a three-time European champion and also took silver at the 2019 World Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

After playing tennis at school when he was a teenager, Mr Bethell started playing badminton aged 13 after being inspired by the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

He has already turned his ambitions to winning the Paralympic gold medal when he goes to the Paris games in 2024.

“The sport has grown so much since I first started and for the sport to be here, at a Paralympic Games for the first time, is amazing.

“If any kids with disabilities want to play badminton, it’s a great sport and I’d encourage them to pick up a racket.

“My performance and the performance of my teammates this week will hopefully inspire them to do that.

“I’ll definitely be going to Paris – I want to turn this silver into gold.

“To be on the podium will be such a proud moment and I’ll definitely be having a smile on my face.”

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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