31 October 2019 00:33
Paralympian Will Bayley has withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing after injuring his knee during rehearsals. The 31-year-old said he was bitterly disappointed to pull out of the BBC show after hurting himself last week while practising the jive. Bayley, who won gold in table tennis at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, and his professional partner Janette Manrara already had to sit out this weekend's shows. He said: "I'm gutted my Strictly journey has had to come to an end. I've loved being part of the show and am so grateful for the phenomenal support we have received.
"I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. Will Bayley has left Strictly Come Dancing after sustaining a leg injury, the BBC has confirmed. The Paralympian landed awkwardly after jumping from a raised platform in studio rehearsals, causing him to miss last Saturday's show. "I'm gutted my Strictly journey has had to come to an end. I've loved being part of the show," he said.
Bayley, a gold medal-winning table tennis player, had been partnered with Strictly professional Janette Manrara. He is the second contestant to pull out this year due to injury. Jamie Laing had to withdraw before the series launched after injuring his foot, and was replaced by Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher. Bayley said: "I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me, and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. "The things we achieved, from our couple's choice dance, through to the lifts in our salsa, will stay with me forever. I've had the time of my life." Bayley and Manrara had been in the competition for six weeks. Their best score from the judges came in week five, when they received 32 points for their contemporary dance to Lukas Graham's 7 Years. The show's executive producer, Sarah James said: "We are so sad that Will is unable to continue on the show. He will be greatly missed and we wish him a speedy recovery." Manrara said: "Absolutely devastated that Will and I will not be able to continue dancing. We made some incredible memories that I will never forget, and I am pleased to have shared them with such an inspirational person who I can now call a friend for life." Strictly Come Dancing has not yet made any announcement on any changes that will be made to this year's competition as a result of the mid-series withdrawal. With nine couples left in the competition, a single vote-off each week would leave three pairs competing for the glitterball trophy on 14 December. The number of finalists has varied between three and four in recent years. Strictly's other withdrawals Withdrawals from Strictly have been very rare over its 17 series to date, with just a handful leaving the ballroom bonanza without being voted off: Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck left the show during the programme's fourth series after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. "I'm absolutely devastated," he said at the time. The following year, model and actress Kelly Brook withdrew in order to spend more time with her family after the death of her father, Kenneth. One year later, political journalist John Sergeant's simple steps won over many viewers but he decided to quit after fearing he might actually win the competition. "That would be a joke too far," he said. Olympic athlete Jade Johnson said she was "absolutely gutted" after an injury suffered during a dress rehearsal forced her to withdraw during series seven. And singer Will Young left the show for "personal reasons" during series 14. He later told the Times Magazine it was "for my own wellbeing". Earlier this year, Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing pulled out before the series started after injuring his foot in rehearsals. Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]