Two Table Tennis Paralympians to Compete in the Olympic Games
History will be made at Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as two Paralympians will be playing in the Olympic Table Tennis event for the first time ever. Natalia PARTYKA (POL) and Melissa TAPPER (AUS) have both been confirmed for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which shows the world that anything is possible.
PARTYKA, who is a three time Paralympics gold medalist, will be competing in the team event for Poland, after narrowly missing out on a singles berth. The 26-year-old class 10 player who was born without a right hand and forearm stated: “I will play just in team event in Rio, but anyway I am very proud and happy that I will compete at the Olympic Games for a third consecutive time. I hope that this shows all disabled athletes that impossible is nothing.”
The Polish player is no stranger to flying the Paralympic flag herself at the Olympic Games, but this time, she will be joined by Melissa TAPPER, who will become the first ever Australian athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
TAPPER, who has nerve damage in her right arm, will play both the singles and team events in Rio. The 26-year-old Australian is excited about the prospects of making history at the Olympic Games with PARTYKA: “I think that it's awesome that the Paralympic athletes are breaking down barriers and getting to participate in the Olympics. Playing alongside Natalia is an honor, but I think the biggest win is for our sport.”
ITTF President Thomas WEIKERT is equally excited about the prospects of two Paralympians lining up in the Olympic table tennis event: "The ITTF is proud and excited to have a historic two Para players qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Natalia made history in Beijing by becoming the first ever Para table tennis Olympian and now she will be joined by Melissa Tapper in Rio. Both these players are inspirations to all para athletes as they show that disability is no barrier to success. We wish them the best of luck in Rio!"
The Olympic table tennis event will take place from 6-17 August 2016 at RioCentro Pavilion 3. There will be four gold medals to be handed out: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s team and women’s team. The singles event will be contested by 64 men and women, while the best 16 teams on earth will battle to be crowned Olympic Team Champion.