Zhao Shuai has agreed to teach students at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China before heading to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Two-time Paralympic table tennis champion Zhao Shuai has taken his first steps into teaching by joining the University of Nottingham Ningbo China's (UNNC) physical education (PE) staff.

Zhao’s bond with the UNNC stems from 2016 when he studied English as part of the Deng Yaping Sports Scholarship which assists young athletes in obtaining an education at some of the world's top universities.

The 26-year-old from China has now returned to the university where he is teaching students table tennis.  

"Understanding students and their aptitude is important to deliver effective classes," said Zhao who had his left arm amputated following a car accident when he was just four years old.

"Because it’s unreasonable to expect them to all play professionally, my teaching methods will vary according to their different skill levels."

Zhao, who won the men’s C8 singles title at London 2012 and Rio 2016, is eager to share his experience and passion for table tennis with students.

"In my class, I’ll teach students not only the theory of playing table tennis but also the practical experience I’ve gained from many competitions," said the Chinese player.

"My personal goal is to inspire more students to love sports and to develop an interest in playing table tennis in particular."

After the semester finishes in May, Zhao is expected to be heading to this year’s rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where he hopes to defend his title.

"He is confident of winning a third successive gold medal," said Zhao.

"I’m in excellent form and with years of practice, my skills and experience are more mature than ever before."

Zhao said the English language support he received from UNNC was a great help and planned to pursue a postgraduate degree with the university in the future.

"Studying at the University of Nottingham has always been my aspiration," added Zhao.

Sarah Humphreys, director of sport and PE at UNNC, said: "Myself and my colleagues are thrilled to be welcoming Zhao Shuai to our team, where he will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the PE programme.

"He will be a fantastic role model and we look forward to his involvement with our programmes."