Adepitan, who was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award by the University of East London in 2010, is in the elite class of persons that has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), especially as a man of colour, for services to disability sport in 2005. He was also presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Loughborough University, in recognition of his outstanding services to, and performances in, disability sport.
The same year, Adepitan was awarded a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ by the Champions Club UK in recognition not only of his efforts at promoting disability sport, but also for being a positive role model. He was particularly commended for his strong and persistent message of hope within the young black disabled community.
Adepitan is an accomplished wheelchair basketball player, for his club Milton Keynes Aces and as a member of 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 has featured on many television programs and series as an actor, presenter, or guest, particularly for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He often uses television as a platform to campaign against racism and disability discrimination. He was one of three wheelchair basketball players featured in the 2002 BBC One ident Hip-Hop. He was one of the main presenters of the children’s program Xchange produced for CBBC and has appeared in the soap opera EastEnders. He starred as wheelchair basketball coach, “Baggy Awolowo”, in the TV series Desperados.
Rising to that level of prominence and global recognition has not been a downhill task; in fact, quite the contrary.
Adepitan was born in the Maryland district in Lagos, on 27 March 1973. At the age of 15 months, he contracted polio, which resulted in the loss of function of his left leg, and ultimately prevented him from walking.
At the age of three, Adepitan and his mother immigrated to the United Kingdom to join his father, who lived in the London Borough of Newham.
He was educated at Southern Road Primary School in Plaistow which he credits with helping him with his disability and problems at home. From an early age, he aspired to becoming an international sportsman. Adepitan did not just live that dream of becoming a world class sportsman, he also became a television and radio presenter, as well as an actor.
In 2005, Adepitan participated in Beyond Boundaries, which was a four-part documentary in which he trekked through rainforests, deserts, rivers and mountains in Nicaragua and made his own video diary filmed in London and Spain, talking about his sporting aspirations and how he coped as a London boy living in Zaragoza unable to speak any Spanish.
Adepitan has become increasingly involved in making documentaries for Channel 4. He was appointed as one of the main presenters on Channel 4 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and co-presents That Paralympic Show with Rick Edwards. And in 2013, he presented a Channel 4 Dispatches programme, Britain on Benefits, as well as a documentary for Channel 4’s Unreported World about Cuban basketball players, Cuba, Basketball and Betrayal. He was also part of the Channel 4 2014 Winter Paralympic Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympics presenting team alongside Clare Balding.
Adepitan has also worked with the BBC, having presented the Invictus Games, guest-presenting an episode of The One Show alongside Alex Jones. In 2016, he co-presented three-part BBC Two series New York: America’s Busiest City alongside Anita Rani and Ant Anstead.
Since 2016, Adepitan has co-presented the BBC’s Children in Need appeal. In 2017, he co-presented World’s Busiest Cities with Anita Rani and Dan Snow and in 2019, Adepitan presented a new four-part series for BBC Two Africa with Ade Adepitan, traveling across Africa, from West Africa and city of his birth – Lagos in Nigeria – through Central and Eastern Africa and on to the deep south of the continent.
Adepitan does a lot of charity work, particularly supporting many charities to help other people with physical disabilities. He is a patron of Go Kids Go (formerly known as Association of Wheelchair Children). He is also a great supporter of the National Society of the Prevention of the Cruelty to Children Charity (NSPCC) and the Wheel Power Charity.
He also participated in the Disabled Motoring UK Alps 2011 Challenge. Adepitan is also an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play, the world’s leading sport for development charity.
Surely, the words of the legendary singer, Bob Lester Marley come alive in the life of Adepitan: “Where there is a will, there is always a way.”