Joshua Stacey

Date and place of birth: 25/02/2000, Cardiff
Home town: Cardiff
Lives: Sheffield
TT Class: 9
Current world ranking: 12
TT Style: Attacking
International debut: 2017

In brief:

Just six months after making his international debut in 2017 Joshua represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and completed a 1-2-3 for the British Para table tennis team by taking bronze in the men’s class 6-10 singles. In 2019 he took bronze in the men’s class 10 team event at the European Championships and having taken singles medals in Italy, Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland and China broke into the world’s top 10 in men’s class 9. He made his Paralympic debut in Tokyo, reaching the quarter-finals of the men’s class 9 singles and the quarter-finals of the men’s class 9-10 team with Ashley Facey Thompson.

Joshua’s story

Joshua started playing table tennis at the age of 13 when coach Simon Oyler came to his school and ran a ‘come and try’ session.

“I’ve always liked to be the best at what I do,” he admits, “and when I first started playing table tennis I was pretty bad. But as I started to play more – going to a local club and playing two or three times a week - I understood the sport more and I started to enjoy how different it can be on any given day and the pressure that comes with it. I wouldn’t say I loved it immediately - it was more that as I played it a bit more I found out more about it and it became interesting. I enjoyed the challenge and the fact that you had to work hard to get better.”

Joshua attributes his work ethic to his grandfather who he credits as the person who has influenced him the most.

“He came from a large family and didn’t have a lot growing up,” he said. “From what I have seen he has always worked as hard as he can and never complained when things haven’t gone his way. He just dug in and kept going which is something that I would like to carry with me while I am playing and in the future - just having that grit to work even harder when things don’t go your way.”

The ability to see the positive in any situation helped Joshua when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) at the age of 17. During a visit to Grantham College, where Joshua was combining his table tennis with his studies, BPTT coach Mat Kenny noticed that the young Welshman was walking on his toes and suggested that there may be a physical reason for his inability to place the weight fully on his feet.

“The BPTT Pathway manager Shaun Marples chased it up pretty quickly,” explained Joshua, “and I went to see a specialist. An MRI scan showed I had brain damage on one side of my brain which was consistent with a CP diagnosis. For me, knowing I had CP wasn’t really a big thing in terms of how it would affect me in general because I had lived with it and it didn’t really affect me in a negative way. I wasn’t shocked by it – I always thought there might be something wrong but I never thought it was something as drastic as brain damage. Once I got the diagnosis it just meant I would get more opportunities.”

Joshua went to the Belgium Para Open in October 2017 to be classified, winning bronze in the men’s class 9 singles and gold in the men’s class 9 teams. He followed up with bronze in the US Open and was selected to represent Wales in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April 2018 where he produced a great performance to beat the class 10 South African Theo Cogill 3-2 to win the bronze medal match.

Having taken further medals in Italy and Slovakia, Joshua won his first singles title at the Czech Open in September, beating GB team mate Ashley Facey Thompson in the final, and went on to take gold in the team event with Facey Thompson and Kim Daybell.

Joshua completed the 2018 season by taking silver in the Spanish Open where he beat the Slovakia Open gold medallist Lev Kats from Ukraine 3-0 in the semi-finals before losing the final 3-0 to the very experienced former European medallist Dezso Bereczki from Hungary.

In 2019 Joshua continued to improve, reaching the men’s class 9 singles final in Italy, Czech Republic and Finland and breaking into the world’s top 10 in his class. With Ashley Facey Thompson he won team gold in Japan, Czech Republic and Finland and he won his first major championship medal at the European Championships in Sweden, taking bronze in the men’s class 10 team event with Ashley Facey Thompson and Kim Daybell.

Having qualified for his first Paralympic Games Joshua performed well in Tokyo and came agonisingly close to a medal in the men’s class 9 singles, losing in five sets to the very experienced Russian Iurii Nozdrunov, the World silver medallist and former World number two. In the men’s class 9-10 team event he showed character and courage to match his talent in beating the World and European bronze medallist from Spain Juan Bautista Perez Gonzalez despite being hampered by muscular spasms in his right calf that restricted his movement, fighting back from 2-1, 8-2 down to win 11-6 in the fifth.

Joshua and Ashley Facey Thompson subsequently lost their quarter-final to China and so missed out on a team medal and Joshua is determined to use the pain of both those quarter-final defeats to drive him towards Paris in 2024.

“I think the main thing I’m going to take out of Tokyo is I don’t want to feel the way I felt after losing my two quarter-finals again,” he said. “I think it is just going to motivate me and make sure that when Paris comes around I don’t have those feelings and, as bad as it sounds, I put someone else in the boat that I was in.”

Take 5 with Joshua

Sporting event you would most like a ticket for: World Cup Final

Person who has influenced you most: My grandad

Three words that describe you best – honest, persistent, committed

Three famous people (alive or dead) you would most like to have a drink with – Roger Federer, Jan-

Ove Waldner, Pele

Hobbies, interests: Playing Fortnite

and finally – Josh’s alternative career would be a physiotherapist

2021 Results:

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

2020 Results:

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

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

2019 Results:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 Results:

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

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

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

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

Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia – bronze, men’s singles (class 6-10)

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

2017 Results:

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

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

Career Highlights:

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

2020:    Polish Open – gold, men’s singles (class 9)

2019:    Finland Open – silver, 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 – silver, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)

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

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

2018:    Spanish Open – silver, men’s singles (class 9)

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

Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia – bronze, men’s singles (class 6-10)

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

2017:    Belgium Open – bronze, men’s singles (class 9); gold, men’s teams (class 9)