From Anfield to Tokyo, Jack Hunter-Spivey knew from the age of ten what he wanted to be and that was a table tennis Paralympic champion. Having won gold last year at the Commonwealth Games and bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics, Spivey is hoping for more successful in Paris next year.

When asked about his experience in Tokyo The Liverpool born paralympian said: “I was ten when I first started playing table tennis, so I didn’t really know what the Paralympics was. I remember hearing in the youth club that the Paralympic games had been won in London and on the radio. Ever since then I became obsessed with becoming a Paralympian.

“I wanted to be the guy on the tv, not the guy watching it. I was obsessed with becoming one of the best players in the world. To finally realise that dream and do it against two players that I wasn’t meant to beat on paper. It was an absolute dream come true. It’s something I’ll never forget, and the memories are something I’ll cherish forever.”

After beating the world number two and three, life was at an all time high for Jack, but the hunger and desire for that gold medal still lingered.

Talking about his experience at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham the 28 year old said: “Getting gold was always one of my goals. The commonwealth was my first big title that I’d won. To do that in front of a home crowd was amazing. Just thinking about people that helped me from my first session to my mum and dad and my girlfriend. They were all there to support me. To do it at the home games, to finally bring home a title it was absolutely incredible. It was amazing for me really.”

A successful career does not come without its challenges and difficult moments. Jack was born with cerebral palsy. Symptoms range from not being able to walk at all to simply having muscle stiffness in your leg: “Class one is the most disabled players that are,  maybe paralysed from the chest down or a little bit higher. A class five is me. Full arm, full shin movement, I just can’t walk basically. Then you have all the variants in between.

“The aspect of trying to hit the ball back was hard. I was by no means a natural when I first started playing, but I just really enjoyed hanging out with my friends and really trying to become better at something. I found that passion straight away from a young age and it really helped me.”

While on his journey of wheelchair table tennis the Commonwealth champion has had his mum, dad and girlfriend cheering him on. The person who inspired him the most was fellow Merseysider, and wheelchair table tennis player Tony Edge. He won a silver medal at the Stoke Mandeville and New York 1984 Paralympic Games. He passed away in 2018: “He was a big inspiration to me; he taught me everything I know on the table. He taught me about how to live in a wheelchair. Yeah, he was a big inspiration for me growing up. It was amazing for me really and what he did for my life.”

Being an inspiration to young children, as Tony Edge was for him, is very important to the 28 year old. A mural of him and Katrina Johnson-Thompson has been painted at St Mark’s Catholic Primary School to help do just that: “To get a mural was amazing. To be with such a legend like KT was incredible as well. Hopefully it will inspire the next generation of kids and find the next one of us. Yeah, it was amazing and a great opportunity to be involved with in that because inspiring the next generation is very important”.

As an Anfield local the gold medallist has always been a dedicated Liverpool fan and he tries to get to as many games as physically possible: “I was born in Anfield; I was born facing the Kop. So, I’m a big Liverpool fan and I manage to get into the games now as well. I get in through the disabled supporters association, I got close to the club through that. Just to be back with my favourite football team in the world, it’s amazing just to be part of the club. They are backing me every step of the way, it’s such an amazing feeling.

“I went to the champions league semi-final against Barcelona and that was amazing. Also I went to a champions league match versus rangers, and I was able to be in the legends lounge for the match. I sat in a box to watch. Surprisingly I met Steven Gerrard, Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish. It was a crazy day for me. That was a real pinch yourself moment for me. I’d love to relive that if I could.”

With the Paris 2024 Paralympics on the horizon the Liverpool paralympian is well on his way, ultimately aiming to turn that bronze into gold and make history yet again.

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