Adedoyin Adepitan. Known as Ade to his friends and the public, was born in Lagos University teaching hospital, in the Suru-lere district in Nigeria. At the age of fifteen months he contracted Poliomyelitis. The effects of the virus meant that Ade was unable to use his left leg, and only had partial use of his right leg.
In 1976 when Ade was three years old. His parents made the brave decision to leave their family in Nigeria, and move to the UK. They settled in Plaistow East London. Moving to the UK was one of the most important events in Ade Adepitan’s life. He was taught how to walk using iron calipers, which he wore until the age of 17. Despite having Polio, Ade loved playing football with his school friends. He spent his early years dreaming of playing football for England.
Ade discovered wheelchair basketball when he was twelve, after being spotted by two Physiotherapists. They saw Ade as he was pushed through the streets of Plaistow in a Tesco’s shopping trolley by his friends. The shopping trolley was one of Ade’s favourite modes of transport at the time, as it was the only way he could keep up with his friends. Owen McGhee, and Kay Owen, we’re both Physiotherapists who worked in East London. Their Philosophy was to teach young disabled children in the area, how to be independent using sport. After taking Ade to Stokemandeville in Buckinghamshire, they introduced him to wheelchair basketball. From that moment Ade had one burning ambition, to win a medal in the Paralympics for Great Britain.
After turning down an opportunity to study and play basketball, at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ade decided to play basketball professionally for two years with CAI CDM Zaragoza. His dream to play for Great Britain at the Paralympics finally came true. After fifteen years, Ade was selected to compete in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.
The Sydney Paralympics received unprecedented media coverage; this helped to boost Ade’s Profile amongst the British public. After starring in a documentary called “hoop dreams” for a cable channel, and also featuring in the world famous PlayStation double life advert, as well as presenting a wildlife show on national TV. Ade Adepitan became a familiar face in the UK with his trademark cheeky grin and flowing dreadlocks.
Ade continued to represent Great Britain, for five more years after Sydney. In that time he won a bronze, and a silver medal, at the 2002 and 2005 European championships. He also captained his country to a silver medal, at the 2002 World championships in Kitakyushu Japan. In 2004 Ade Adepitan achieved his lifelong ambition, winning a medal at the Athens Paralympics. One of the tournaments highlights came in the quarterfinals. Trailing by one point against the World champions the USA, and with seven point one seconds left in the game. Ade was fouled in the act of shooting, and was awarded two free throws. He sunk both shots to seal an amazing victory. Seven months later he did it again, this time at the inaugural Paralympic world cup in the final against Australia. In Overtime Ade hit the winning shot to beat Australia and help his team win Gold.
AS ADE’S SPORTING CAREER BEGAN TO WIND DOWN, HIS TV CAREER STARTED TO TAKE OFF.
Ade Adepitan presented:
Tiger Tiger. Kids wildlife show. Channel 5 1999
XCHANGE. Weekly kids magazine show. BBC One. 2000-2005
Holiday programme. BBC One. 2001-2003
Dream ticket (travel programme) LWT 2001-2002
Sportsround. BBC One 2005-2006
NBA show. Channel 5 2007-2009
That Paralympic show. Weekly magazine show following our Paralympians journey to London 2012. Channel 4 2011-2012
Ade has also featured in:
“Hoop Dreams” British documentary (following Ade’s journey to Spain as basketball player) 1995
Playstation. Double life advert 1999
BBC One Ident 2002
Beyond Boundaries (Documentary following disabled people as they attempted to travel across Nicaragua) BBC Two 2005
Whereitsat TV promo 2008
Ade Acted in
Desperados. CBBC series about a wheelchair basketball team. 2006
Freight. Gangster movie 2010
In 2005 Ade was a member of the team that traveled to Singapore, and helped the UK win the London 2012 Paralympic, and Olympic games. In the same year he was also awarded the MBE, for his contribution to disability sport in the Queens 2005 Birthday honours.