Ade Adepitan, MBE

Former Lister School pupil, Ade Adepitan MBE, sportsman and paralympian.


There's not much that Newham's Ade Adepitan hasn't accomplished. The super enthusiastic Paralympian has won medals at the highest level, completed the London Marathon, and is now a sports commentator and actor. His dedication to disabled sport has played a pivotal role in building the exposure and development of the Paralympic Games in London 2012.

Adepitan, a former pupil of Lister School, was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1973. He contracted polio at six months old, which left his legs weak and damaged. His parents, both were teachers in Nigeria, decided to come to the UK so their son could receive better medical care. Adepitan's father came to Britain first to earn enough money to bring his wife and son here, the family settled in Newham.

Whilst at school Ade gave up the callipers which helped him walk and took up basketball having seen the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Team in action, since then he has never looked back. He was selected for the British team when he was 18 and has competed on every continent and at every level. He moved to Spain when he was 21 to play professionally for Zaragossa. At the age of 26 he was selected for the team for the Sydney Paralympics in 2000 but they were beaten to a bronze medal by the United States in the final seconds.

Ade was a member of the Great Britain team that won the bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and the gold medal at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester. He retired from international level in 2005, although he still plays for his club.

In 2005 Ade was honoured by the Queen for services to Disability Sport following his efforts that saw Great Britain win the bronze medal at the Athens Summer Paralympic Games. He was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of the University, from Loughborough University in recognition of his outstanding services to, and performances in, disabled sport. Ade is Patron of disability sport charity, WheelPower, who are based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympics.

Ade now works as a very enthusiastic television presenter for the BBC. He has hosted shows including Xchange on the CBBC Channel and has reported for Sportsround and the travel show Holiday. He also appeared on the BBC One "Hip-Hop" ident as the lead dancer of three wheelchair basketball players who spin around in their chairs on a court. In 2006 Adepitan was in a CBBC drama Desperados about wheelchair basketball.

Television has allowed Ade to help those less fortunate than himself and he has campaigned against racism and disability discrimination as well as being a patron for Scope and the Association for Wheelchair Children and is also an ambassador for the NSPCC and The Prince's Trust. Ade is a Sporting Champion and he has just accepted the position of Patron for the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association. So whether traveling to Ghana with Comic Relief or re-enacting the BBC ident with Peter Kay, Ade continues to support good causes.

Ade's last major challenge was in Nicaragua when he and the rest of the Beyond Boundaries team crossed the country to meet a five thousand foot mountain. When the pulley system failed BBC2 viewers saw Ade drag himself up Óné Pepé in the blistering heat which saw more than just his legs burnt.

Another important achievement of Ade's was again in a team, in Singapore, on the 6th July, 2005 as an ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For Ade, his road to the Paralympics began at school when he had the opportunity to watch the then GB Wheelchair Basketball Team. Ade has become the role model for many youngsters, and an ambassador for sport, and the cycle has come full circle. Now we see many new athletes coming into sport thanks to him. As a motivational speaker, Ade is much in demand in the corporate sector, coving numerous topics including adversity, success, peak performance and teamwork

Ade Adepitan, MBE