Date and place of birth: 22/12/1989, Plymouth
Home town: Torpoint
Family: Parents Liz and Paul, brother Gareth and sister Abigail
TT Class: 6
Current world ranking: 6
TT Style: right-handed attacking
International debut: 2005, Norwegian Open
David started playing table tennis at the age of 10 at his local club Crafthole, where his father coached, and soon progressed to the Plymouth League with Woolwell TTC. Having a father and an older brother who played spurred him on and he immediately fell in love with the speed and intensity of the game. “Table tennis is a sport that I’ve loved ever since I first picked up a bat,” says David. “I was always trying to beat my dad and my brother in the first few years. Eventually I got there, and they haven’t beaten me since.”
David made his international debut in 2005 and has represented ParalympicsGB in Bejing 2008 and London 2012. In Beijing he beat the home favourite and former champion in the first round on his way to reaching the last eight and his spectacular diving shot against his German opponent in London 2012 became a YouTube sensation although he went on to lose the match.
Having reached the semi-finals in the European Championships in 2011, David was hoping to medal at the Europeans in 2013 but struggled to find his form in Italy and did not progress to the knockout stages. However, he finished the season on a positive note by taking gold in the class 6 singles at the Belgium Open.
“It was a bit up and down,” he says of his form in 2013. “I did struggle after London with the disappointment of my performance there and I had a few niggling injuries at the start of the year but I had some good results, reached two finals and beat the Paralympic champion three times so that was encouraging.
“I feel quite positive going forward – I know I can play well but I need to be able to play well and get results when I’m not having a good day and in the past I haven’t been able to do that. Winning in Belgium was good for my confidence and I feel quite excited because I feel that I’ve started playing table tennis again – it’s invigorated me. I love improving and I’ve got a new challenge and I’m really enjoying working towards that.”
David started 2014 by winning the class 6 National title and followed that with medals in Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia.
Diagnosed at birth with multiple epiphyseal dysplasia, which affects the growing ends of the bones, David was also affected by Fallows tetralogy, a congenital heart defect, and had open heart surgery as a baby. Table tennis has provided him with an outlet for his competitive spirit and also helped him to overcome the physical problems caused by his condition.
“Table tennis is a sport I can play without too many limitations,” he explains, “but it is something I can compete at alongside able-bodied people. It was good for rehabilitation from all the operations I had as a child and now it keeps me active and driven to stay fit and healthy. The main thing is that it has given me such a great opportunity to achieve something massive in life – without this, those tough times would have been a lot harder for sure.”
Take 5 with David:
Most admired sportsman – Roger Federer, David Beckham
Three famous people you would like to have a drink with – Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Emma Watson – for obvious reasons!
Person who has influenced you most – my dad for inspiring me to play table tennis and my mum for helping me through thick and thin
Sporting event you would most like a ticket for – FIFA World Cup
Place in the world you would most like to visit – Rio de Janeiro in 2016
and finally – David has a degree in biological chemistry from Sheffield University
Slovakia Open – silver, men’s teams (class 6); bronze, men’s singles (class 6)
Slovenia Open – gold, men’s teams (class 6); bronze, men’s singles (class 6)
Lignano Master Open, Italy – silver, men’s singles (class 6); group stages, men’s teams (class 6-7)
National Championships – winner, singles (mixed class 6)
2014: Slovenia Open – gold, men’s teams (class 6); bronze, men’s singles (class 6)
Lignano Master Open, Italy – silver, men’s singles (class 6
2013: Belgium Open – gold, men’s singles (class 6); bronze, men’s teams (class 6-7)
Korea Open – silver, men’s singles (class 6); bronze, men’s teams (class 6-7)
Bayreuth Open, Germany – gold, men’s teams (class 6)
2012: French Open – gold, men’s teams (class 6); silver, men’s singles (class 6)
Slovenian Open – gold, men’s teams (class 6)
Slovakian Open – gold, men’s teams (class 6); bronze, men’s singles
2009: Slovenian Open – gold, men’s singles (class 6)
2007: US Open – gold, men’s singles (class 6); gold, men’s teams (class 6)
Further results available at: http://www.ipttc.org/players/men/david_wetherill/index.htm