Two-time Paralympian Ashley Facey, who left British Para Table Tennis after the Tokyo Paralympic Games to pursue a new career in cycling, has returned to the sport he fell in love with as an 11-year-old boy growing up in East London.
The 27-year-old first joined the BPTT Performance Squad in 2009, going on to represent his country in World and European Championships and in the Rio and Tokyo Paralympic Games. He made the decision to swap his table tennis bat for a bicycle after discovering a passion for cycling during lockdown in 2020 when he decided to remain in Sheffield to focus on his fitness rather than return to his London home after training was suspended due to the pandemic.
“I’ve missed Para table tennis and wanted to come back,” said Facey, who reached a career high of World number eight in men’s class 9 in 2018. “Transferring to cycling has made me realise how much I still love the sport of table tennis and I miss competing and training as a table tennis player. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and being away from table tennis has certainly done that for me. I still love cycling but as a hobby not a sport to compete in as an elite athlete. I feel that in this world we are not allowed to make mistakes or challenge ourselves but I did and I knew it wasn’t for me. I’m so happy and feel very blessed to be a part of BPTT again.”
BPTT Performance Director Gorazd Vecko said: “We are delighted that Ashley has made the decision to come back to table tennis. He has always been a very talented athlete and part of our BPTT family so it will be great to have him back in our squad. After Tokyo he felt that he needed a new challenge but taking time away from table tennis has reinforced his commitment to the sport. I know that he is going to work harder than ever to get the best possible results and I am looking forward to seeing what he will achieve in the future.”