Table topping champion wins Rio gold and cheers

    Will Bayley

    Villagers in Groombridge were celebrating yesterday after local table-tennis hero, Will Bayley, took gold in Rio.

    He won Great Britain’s 24th gold medal of the Paralympic Games with a 3-1 Class 7 singles final victory over Brazil’s Israel Stroh.

    Will (28) could not contain his emotion, jumping up onto the table which attracted boos from a mainly Brazilian crowd as well as a yellow card from the umpire.

    He reacted by embracing the umpire: “I just gave her a little hug, because she was a little uptight.”

    His victory was met with a combination of pride and amazement from Groombridge residents.

    “The whole village is aware of how much hard work he has put in and we are all very proud of him. To see him go one better than he did in London is amazing,” said Harry Powney.

    Will has arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder that affects all four of his limbs. He won silver in London 2012.