Born and bred in Barnsley, mother of two Sue initially started playing table-tennis when she was 12 years old but had to retire at 15 due to Ehlers Danlos, a degenerative muscle and ligament disease that led to dislocations of her joints. Sue’s right wrist has had to be fused due to constant dislocations and she has limited use of her right shoulder. She also has Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Syndrome. At the age of 18 Sue started playing table tennis in a wheelchair two years later.
Sue competed in her first European Championships in 1998 and was European champion in 2005, having won silver in 2003 when seven and a half months pregnant. She took gold in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and again in Melbourne in 2006 and has represented GB in four Paralympic Games, including London 2012. She has been British national champion 19 times and has won hundreds of International medals over the last 18 years.
In 2013, Sue won medals in Slovenia and Slovakia before taking gold in the Bayreuth Open in Germany. She then represented GB in the European Championships, losing a very close match to the London 2012 silver medalist and double European champion Borislava Peric-Rankova from Serbia in the semi-final to take the bronze.
In 2014 Sue once again faced the world number one Peric-Rankovic in the semi-finals of the World Championships and at 0-2 down she looked to be heading for another defeat but she fought back magnificently to take the third 11-4 and after saving a match point in the fourth she went on to take a famous victory 11-8 in the fifth.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Sue could not produce a repeat performance in the final against Miao Zhang and the Chinese world number two was a comfortable 3-0 winner.
Sue started the 2015 season with bronze medals in Italy, recording another win over Peric-Rankovic in the team event, and Slovenia and represented GB once more in the European Championships in Denmark. With classes 4 and 5 combined she reached the quarter finals of the singles but found the class 5 three time former European champion Ingela Lundback just too strong in a 3-1 defeat.
She did add to her major medal tally with team bronze in the women’s class 4-5 event with 16 year old Megan Shackleton, the pair reaching the semi-finals before losing to Sweden.
Several years ago she received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and an Honorary Doctorate for her services to table tennis and her charity work with Rainbow House, disabled children’s charity, and Cancer Research. She has also worked as an Ambassador for Sport England for many years, running various table-tennis workshops and talks.
Sue combines her table tennis career with her work as a full-time Primary School Teacher at Shawlands Primary School in Barnsley.
Show your support for Sue Gilroy MBE by sharing their bio!
Sign up to receive email updates on ParalympicsGB and find out how you can supercharge the team at the Paralympic Games.