Matthew Syed is a British journalist, broadcaster and author of Bounce, a book described as “among the most intelligent and thought-provoking books about sport ever written”. He has won numerous prizes for his writing including Sports Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards. He is also a three-time Commonwealth table tennis champion and a two-time Olympian.
"The best speech of its kind I have ever heard. It inspired, entertained and informed in equal measure."
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Matthew is an interesting and unconventional man to say the least. Brought up (like Ricky Gervais) in Reading, he was spotted by his primary school teacher as having the potential to become a future table tennis champion.
Emerging from a local state school as an average achiever Matthew studied for his A levels whilst playing in Sweden before applying to Oxford University having achieved 3 As at A level. Given a place at Balliol to study politics, philosophy and economics Matthew managed to combine his studies whilst competing at an international level. Although warned that both his studies and sport would suffer, he not only gained a prize-winning first class degree but he went on to become three times Commonwealth Champion and England number one for 10 years.
After retiring from top class table tennis, Matthew decided on a career in journalism and now writes for The Times. He was recently awarded Sports Feature Writer of the Year for his articles on Muhammed Ali and Zhuang Zedong. He is an excellent communicator and commentates for Eurosport, Sky News and the BBC in various sports including table tennis, snooker and squash as well as being a regular contributor to various debates on radio. Matthew is also currently the managing director of a sports marketing company and stood for Parliament in 2001.
His speaking topics range from the urge to win, race, sex, disability and globalisation. Matthew has continued his involvement in table tennis through a charity, TTK Greenhouse, (www.greenhouseschools.org) he helped set up which has 30 full time coaches who work with kids in some of the most deprived areas in our inner cities.