A young British Para table tennis player will be featured tonight on The One Show in a story around GCSE results. Adam Sharp is one of three ‘extraordinary’ teenagers selected by BBC Television for the programme who will be getting their results today. The 16 year old, who is a pupil at Roundwood Park School in Harpenden, had a brain tumour at the age of four and has overcome four brain surgeries, two years of chemotherapy and countless other operations and procedures.
Despite these and the resulting disabilities he has taken a full complement of GCSEs this summer with a lot of support from his teachers and his family. He has also kept up with all of his sporting, musical and creative interests, including magic tricks, which provide him with the motivation and mental strength to tackle his revision and exams. His greatest passion is table tennis which he started playing at the age of seven.
“He was coming to the end of his chemotherapy,” said his mother Jos, “and was very weak and struggled to walk or even to stand. Various family members encouraged him to try table tennis as we could physically hold him up and he could play. He loved it and was gradually able to support himself and play on his own.”
The BBC have filmed Adam at home and playing table tennis at Luton TTC where he is now a member, having started at Sandridgebury Lane TTC in St Albans.
His introduction to British Para Table Tennis came when he attended a training day run by Pathway Manager Shaun Marples at the Waterside Grand Prix tournament in Southampton last September. He has since joined the Futures Squad and his dream is to one day emulate his idol Will Bayley and compete in the Paralympic Games.
“Adam is a fun, bubbly character,” said Shaun. “He wants to get on with everyone and socialise but when he is on the table he really fights which is a good quality that he possesses. He has found a sport that he really enjoys and he works hard so it is about nurturing that and seeing what can be developed.”