Jack Hunter-Spivey

Date and place of birth: 11/05/1995
Home town: Liverpool
Lives: Sheffield
TT Class: 5
Current world ranking: 4
International debut: 2011, Slovakia
Major titles: Commonwealth champion 2022

Jack’s story

When London won the Olympic and Paralympic bid in 2005, 10-year-old Jack was playing table tennis in a youth club in Widnes and decided that he wanted to play in the Paralympic Games in London. Although he just missed out on selection for London, he experienced the atmosphere of the Games through the Paralympic Inspiration Programme and went on to achieve his dream of representing ParalympicsGB in Rio 2016.

Originally from Liverpool and brought up on a council estate in Anfield, Jack was born with cerebral palsy and was blind and deaf until he was nine months old. He discovered his passion for table tennis at an early age. “I was obsessed and just wanted to play all the time,” says Jack. “It is so easy to integrate into able bodied table tennis and you can’t do that in a lot of other sports.”

After losing narrowly to reigning World champion Ali Ozturk in the quarterfinals at the European Championships in 2017 and 2019 and the World Championships in 2018, Jack won his first major championships medal in 2021, taking bronze in the men’s class 5 singles at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, defeating the World number two Cheng Ming Chih to win his group and then beating regular team partner Tommy Urhaug, the London 2012 Paralympic champion and World number three from Norway, in the quarterfinals 3-2.

“This gives me all the motivation,” he said. “I’ve worked 16 years now to try and get to this point and I thought it was never going to happen. I was ‘Mr Quarterfinal’ - I’ve lost in every major quarter final and now I’ve won one and got a medal and beat my absolute idol who is one of the best players in the world to do it.”

The following year he gained his first major title, taking gold in the men’s class 3-5 singles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and put a disappointing performance at the World Championships in 2022 behind him to take silver at the European Championships in Sheffield in 2023, beating his old rival Ali Ozturk in the semi-finals before losing to World number one Valentin Baus from Germany.

“I’ve played Ozturk in every quarterfinal of the European Championships and in the Worlds and always lost to him close and always believed that I could beat him, and finally I’ve done it so I’m proud of myself. I’m just really frustrated that I’ve not managed to come away with the gold but I’m really happy that I’ve produced my best table tennis in front of a home crowd.”

Jack has been open about his battle with depression and now combines his table tennis with a career as a comedian.

“It is a credit to the BPTT coaching team and the whole staff that I am the person I am today,” he said, “because when I was 18 and going through my worst mental health stages they helped me to recognise that I had problems. One of the things that we talked about was speaking out about it. Once I was comfortable talking about it I thought why not go and tell other people. If one in three people suffer from mental health problems there has to be someone I can tell my story to and hopefully help them as well.

“Comedy is something I’ve always been interested in and me and my brother have been doing a comedy podcast for a while.  I think after all the adversity I’ve been through I just want to enjoy life and it is good to have another outlet and something else I can focus on outside of table tennis. My mind is always going a million miles an hour and I need to channel that and my mindset is a lot more positive now. I’m looking for jokes and funny things in life and I think that is a nice way to be.”

2024 Results:

US Open – silver, men’s singles (class 5); bronze, men’s doubles (class 8); silver, mixed doubles (class 10)

2023 Results:

European Championships, Sheffield, UK – silver, men’s singles (class 5); silver, mixed doubles (class 10)

US Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5); QF, men’s doubles (class 8)

Slovenia Open – silver, men’s singles (class 5); group stages, men’s doubles (class 8); bronze, mixed doubles (class 10)

Lignano Masters Open, Italy – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); bronze, mixed doubles (class 10)

2022 Results:

World Championships, Spain – QF, men’s singles (class 5); QF, mixed doubles (class 10)

Greek Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5); silver, mixed doubles (class 10)

Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, England – gold, men’s singles (class 3-5)

Slovenia Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); group stages, men’s doubles (class MD8)

Egypt Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5)

2021 Results:

Paralympic Games, Tokyo – bronze, men’s singles (class 5)

World Qualification Tournament, Slovenia – gold, men’s singles (class 5)

2019 Results:

China Open – silver, men’s singles (class 5); bronze, men’s teams (class 5)

European Championships, Sweden – QF, men’s singles (class 5); QF, men’s teams (class 5)

Czech Open – QF, men’s singles (class 5); QF, men’s teams (class 5)

Bangkok Open, Thailand – silver, men’s singles (class 5); gold, men’s teams (class 4-5)

Japan Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); gold, men’s teams (class 5)

Slovenia Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); silver, men’s teams (class 5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); gold, men’s teams (class 5)

2018 Results:

World Championships, Slovenia – QF, men’s singles (class 5)

Czech Open – silver, men’s singles (class 5); group stages, men’s teams (class 5)

Slovenian Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); QF, men’s teams (class 5)

Slovakia Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); silver, men’s teams (class 5)

2017 Results:

US Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5); silver, men’s teams (class 3-5)

European Championships, Lasko, Slovenia – QF, men’s singles (class 5)

Slovenia Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 5); bronze, men’s teams (class 5)

2016 Results:

Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro - group stages, men’s singles (class 5)

Slovakia Open - silver, men’s singles (class 5); QF, men’s teams (class 5)

Slovenia Open - QF, men’s singles (class 5); QF, men’s teams (class 5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - bronze, men’s singles (class 5); silver, men’s teams (class 4-5)

2015 Results:

China Open - silver, men’s singles (class 5); bronze, men’s teams (class 5)

European Championships, Vejle, Denmark - QF men’s singles (class 5)

Korea Open - silver, men’s singles (class 4-5); 4th, men’s teams RR (class 4-5)

Bayreuth Open, Germany - QF, men’s teams (class 5); group stages, men’s singles (class 5)

Slovakia Open - gold, men’s teams (class 5); QF men’s singles (class 5)

Slovenia Open - group stages, men’s singles (class 5); QF men’s teams (class 5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - bronze, men’s singles (class 5); group stages, men’s teams (class 5)

2014 Results:

World Championships, Beijing, China - last 16, men’s singles (class 5)

Slovakia Open - silver, men’s singles (class 5)

Slovenia Open - silver, men’s teams (class 5); last 16, men’s singles (class 5)

Career highlights:

2023:    European Championships, Sheffield, UK – silver, men’s singles (class 5); silver, mixed doubles (class 10)

2022:   Greek Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5)

Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, England – gold, men’s singles (class 3-5)

Egypt Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5)

2022:    Egypt Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5)

2021:    Paralympic Games, Tokyo – bronze, men’s singles (class 5)

World Qualification Tournament, Slovenia – gold, men’s singles (class 5)

2019:    China Open – silver, men’s singles (class 5)

European Championships, Sweden – QF, men’s singles (class 5)

Bangkok Open, Thailand – silver, men’s singles (class 5); gold, men’s teams (class 4-5)

2018:    World Championships, Slovenia – QF, men’s singles (class 5)

Czech Open – silver, men’s singles (class 5);

2017:    US Open – gold, men’s singles (class 5); silver, men’s teams (class 3-5)

European Championships, Lasko, Slovenia – QF, men’s singles (class 5)

2016:    Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – group stages, men’s singles (class 5)

Lignano Master Open, Italy - bronze, men’s singles (class 5); silver, men’s teams (class 4-5)

2015:    China Open - silver, men’s singles (class 5); bronze, men’s teams (class 5)

European Championships, Vejle, Denmark - QF men’s singles (class 5)

Slovakia Open - gold, men’s teams (class 5)

2014:    World Championships, Beijing, China - last 16, men’s singles (class 5)

Slovenia Open - silver, men’s teams (class 5)

Slovakia Open - silver, men’s singles (class 5)

2013:    US Open - bronze, men’s singles (class 5); gold, men’s teams (class 5)

Belgium Open - silver, men’s singles (class 5)

2012:    Slovenia Open - gold, men’s teams (class 5)