Ashley Facey Thompson

Date and place of birth: 31/01/1995, London (Whitechapel)
Home town: London (Stratford)
Lives: Sheffield
Family: Mum Pauline
TT Class: 9
Current world ranking: 14
TT Style: attacking
International debut: 2009

In brief:

Ashley competed in his first Paralympic Games in Rio 2016 and won his first major championship medal at the European Championships in 2017, taking silver in the men’s class 10 team event with Kim Daybell. He reached the quarter-finals at the World Championships in 2018 and came agonisingly close to his first major singles medal at the Europeans in 2019, losing his quarter-final in five sets after his opponent saved match point with a net cord. After reaching the semi-finals of the World Qualification Tournament in June 2021 he received a wild card to compete in Tokyo where he narrowly failed to progress from his group in the men’s class 9 singles and reached the quarter-finals of the men’s class 9-10 team event with Joshua Stacey.

Ashley’s story

Ashley’s mother nurtured his love of sport after he was born with Erbs palsy, which affected the nerves in the right side of his body, primarily in his arm and shoulder.

“My mum thought it would help to develop the strength and mobility in my right arm,” he explained  “so I played basketball, cricket, football, tennis, boxing and swimming and that is when I fell in love with sport. Mum originally thought I was going to be a swimmer because I loved swimming – I’m just a sporty person and I love trying different sports.”

When he was 11 years old he was introduced to table tennis at Morpeth School in Bethnal Green, East London and immediately impressed coaches with his natural talent.

“To be told I was good at something meant a lot to me, particularly at that age,” he explained. “Back then I wasn’t academically smart and it is hard when you are a kid to hear negative comments all the time. When I was told I was talented at table tennis it gave me the drive to carry on. It was nice to feel that I was good at something although I was struggling academically and I fell in love with table tennis – it was so fast and fun".

Having played against GB international Aaron McKibbin in tournaments around England he was called up by the GB Para Table Tennis Team to play a competition in Romania and joined the GB Performance squad in 2009. Although he just missed out on the team for London 2012 he was selected for the Paralympic Inspiration Programme and so visited both the Paralympic venues and village, an experience that made him even more determined to get to Rio in 2016.

In 2013 Ashley represented GB in the European Championships in both singles (class 9) and teams (class 10). He started 2014 by winning his first National title in the men’s class 8-9 singles and made a major breakthrough in the team event in Slovakia in May when he came back from 0-2 down and 0-4 in the final set to beat the world number six Juan Bautista Perez from Spain 11-6 in the fifth. He continued to progress and finished the season by recording the best win of his career to date with a 3-2 victory over the men’s class 9 world number three from Russia Iurii Nozdrunov.

In 2015 Ashley took team medals in Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Germany and reached the quarter-finals of the singles in the European Championships in Denmark with a determined win in the last 16 against the Frenchman Frederic Bellais. Although he missed out on an automatic qualification place for Rio by just one point he was first reserve for men’s class 9 and his place in the competition was confirmed in August 2016. He performed with credit at his first Paralympic Games and reached the quarter-finals of the men’s class 9-10 team competition with Kim Daybell, losing to China.

In 2017 Ashley moved to Sheffield to train full time with the GB squad after completing his course in sports coaching and analysis at London’s South Bank University. The move payed dividends at the European Championships in Slovenia where he reached the quarter-finals of the men’s class 9 singles, losing to World number one Laurens Devos, and then won a superb silver medal in the men’s class 10 team event with Kim Daybell. The GB pair beat World silver medallists Russia and Paralympic silver medallists Spain before losing to World champions Poland in the final.

Ashley continued to make progress in 2018, taking bronze in Italy and reaching the final in Slovakia, Slovenia and Czech Republic. On his World Championships debut in October he played superbly to win his group, including a 3-2 win against the World number seven from China Zhao Yi Qing. Although he could not reproduce that form in the quarter-finals where he lost to Koyo Iwabuchi from Japan it was a very promising performance.

In 2019 Ashley won medals in Poland, Japan and Czech Republic and came agonisingly close to taking his first major singles medal at the European Championships. After fighting his way back from 2-0 down to force a deciding set in his quarter-final against Lev Kats of Ukraine he had match point only to see his opponent save it with a net cord and then go on to take the match. He then combined with Kim Daybell and Joshua Stacey to take bronze in the men’s class 10 team event and finished the season by taking bronze in Finland – where he also won his third men’s class 9 team title of the year with Stacey – and silver in China, beating the Japanese World number two Koyo Iwabuchi in the semi-finals.

Despite taking medals in Spain and  Poland in 2020 Ashley again missed out on automatic qualification for the Paralympic Games but after reaching the semi-finals of the World Qualification Tournament he was awarded a wild card to compete in Tokyo. In the men’s class 9 singles he was unlucky to be drawn in ‘the group of death’ and despite a superb win over the Russian Nozdrunov, narrow losses to old rivals Iwabuchi and Kats meant that he did not progress to the knockout stages. In the men’s class 9-10 team event he and Joshua Stacey battled past Spain in the last 16 but were knocked out in the quarter-finals by China.

One of the team’s band of Arsenal fans, Ashley is also a keen basketball fan and supports the LA Lakers.

Take 5 with Ashley:

Most admired sportsman - Kobe Bryant

Sporting event you would most like a ticket for - NBA Playoff Finals

Place in the world you would most like to visit - California because the movies are made there

Three words that describe you best - cheeky, funny, happy

Favourite food - my mum’s home cooking

and finally - Ashley won the Canary Wharf Sports Personality of the Year 2012

2021 Results:

Paralympic Games, Tokyo – groups stages, men’s singles (class 9); QF, men’s teams (class 9-10)

World Qualification Tournament, Slovenia – SF, men’s singles (class 9)

2020 Results:

Costa Brava Spanish Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); bronze, men’s teams (class 9-10)

Polish Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9)

2019 Results:

China Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); group stages, men’s teams (class 9-10)

Finland Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)

European Championships, Sweden – bronze, men’s teams (class 10); QF, men’s singles (class 9)

Czech Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)

Japan Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)

Polish Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); QF, men’s teams (class 9-10)

Slovenia Open – bronze, men’s teams (class 9); L16 men’s singles (class 9)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – QF, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 10)

2018 Results

World Championships, Slovenia – QF, men’s singles (class 9)

Czech Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 10)

Slovenian Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); QF, men’s teams (class 9)

Slovakia Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); silver, men’s teams (class 9-10)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9-10)

2017 Results:

European Championships, Lasko, Slovenia – silver, men’s teams (class 10); QF, men’s singles (class 9)

Bayreuth Open, Germany – QF, men’s singles (men’s class 9); bronze, men’s teams (class 9)

Slovenia Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – QF (withdrew due to injury), men’s singles (class 9)

2016 Results:

Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro - QF men’s teams (class 9-10); group stages men’s singles (class 9)

Slovakia Open - bronze, men’s teams (class 10); QF, men’s singles (class 9)

Slovenia Open - last 16, men’s singles (class 9); QF men’s teams (class 10)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - group stages, men’s singles (class 9); QF men’s teams (class 9-10)

2015 Results:

Copa Costa Rica - silver, men’s singles (class 9); bronze, men’s teams (class 10)

Belgian Open - silver, men’s teams (class 9); QF, men’s singles (class 9)

European Championships, Vejle, Denmark - QF men’s singles (class 9); QF men’s teams (class 10)

Bayreuth Open, Germany - bronze, men’s teams (class 9); last 16, men’s singles (class 9)

Slovakia Open - bronze, men’s teams (class 9); last 16 men’s singles (class 9)

Slovenia Open - QF men’s singles (class 9); QF men’s teams (class 10)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - bronze men’s teams (class 10); QF men’s singles (class 9)

Hungarian Open - bronze, men’s teams (class 9-10); QF men’s singles (class 9)

2014 Results:

Cote d’Azur International, France - bronze, men’s singles (class 9); bronze, men’s singles (class 9-10)

Slovakia Open - group stages, men’s singles (class 9); group stages, men’s teams (class 9)

Slovenia Open - group stages, men’s singles (class 9); group stages, men’s teams (class 9)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - group stages, men’s singles (class 9); 4th, men’s teams (class 9-10)

National Championships - winner, men’ singles (class 8-9); winner, doubles (mixed class 6-11)

Career Highlights:

2021:    Paralympic Games, Tokyo – groups stages, men’s singles (class 9); QF, men’s teams (class 9-10)

2019:    China Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9)

Finland Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)

Championships, Sweden – bronze, men’s teams (class 10); QF, men’s singles (class 9)

Japan Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – gold, men’s teams (class 10)

2018:    Slovakia Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9); silver, men’s teams (class 9-10)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – gold, men’s teams (class 9-10)

2017:    European Championships, Lasko, Slovenia – silver, men’s teams (class 10); QF, men’s singles (class 9)

Slovenia Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9)

2016:    Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro - QF men’s teams (class 9-10); group stages men’s singles (class 9)

Slovakia Open - bronze, men’s teams (class 10)

2015:    Copa Costa Rica - silver, men’s singles (class 9)

European Championships, Vejle, Denmark - QF men’s singles (class 9); QF men’s teams (class 10)

Bayreuth Open, Germany - bronze, men’s teams (class 9)

Slovakia Open - bronze, men’s teams (class 9)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - bronze men’s teams (class 10)

Hungarian Open - bronze, men’s teams (class 9-10)

2014:    Cote d’Azur International, France - bronze, men’s singles (class 9); bronze, men’s teams (class 10)

National Championships - winner, men’ singles (class 8-9); winner, doubles (mixed class 6-11)

2013:    Lignano Open, Italy - bronze, men’s teams (class 10)

Hungarian Open - bronze, men’s singles (class 9); bronze, men’s teams (class 9)

2011:    Bayreuth Open, Germany - gold, men’s teams (class 10)

2010:    Lignano Open, Italy - gold, men’s teams (class 10)