Kim Daybell has received further recognition for his work as a doctor on the NHS frontline in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic with a nomination for a Pride of Table Tennis National Award. The 28-year-old two time Paralympian put his Tokyo ambitions on hold last March to return to work on a COVID ward in a North London hospital.
Pride of Table Tennis recognises the commitment to table tennis by unsung heroes in many areas, from coaching and inclusivity to officiating and volunteering, and Daybell has been nominated for the Inspirational Story of the Year award.
His achievement in qualifying as a doctor while training and competing as a member of the British Para Table Tennis Team has inspired England international and medical student Tin-Tin Ho to write the following open letter to him:
I am writing to thank you for all you have done, as a doctor and an athlete. The table tennis community and I continue to be inspired by your resilience and hard work, and you are a role model to many, including myself.
As a medical student and table tennis player, I have the opportunity to try to follow in your footsteps. It was after my GCSE’s that I first considered medicine as a career pathway, but my knowledge of the profession was limited (as it still is!).
Our conversation during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018, when we were both competing for Team England, allowed me to get a glimpse of this unique pathway through your words. You were generous with your time and advice. You highlighted the importance of organising my time, and that I would be required to do lots of independent study. You inspired me to believe it was possible to strive to excel in both areas, as I can’t see myself without one or the other.
In the past year, your table tennis ambitions have had to take a back seat. During that time, your selfless work as a junior doctor for the NHS has saved lives. I can only try to imagine how tough being on the frontline in the pandemic has been; no number of applauds would be able to express our gratitude to you, from the table tennis community and the wider population.
I wish you the best with the qualifications for Tokyo 2021 and I hope it all turns out the way you would like. Outcome aside, what you have done is incredible and selfless.
Thinking about this all, I remember a really cool picture of you wearing half scrubs, half table tennis kit. That really inspires me as that is how I’d like to see myself too! I’m now two years into my five-year course. I don’t know yet which area of medicine my studies will lead me into, but whatever path I choose to follow, I aim to combine it with table tennis for as long as it’s possible and practical to do so. It hasn’t been easy so far, and I know it will only get tougher, but seeing what you have done gives me a little push and encouragement to believe it is possible!
Quite simply, thank you Kim!