"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!"
History will be made at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as two Paralympians will also be playing in the Olympic table tennis event for the first time ever.
Poland’s Natalia Partyka and Australia’s Melissa Tapper have both been confirmed for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Partyka, who is a three time Paralympics gold medallist, will be competing in the team event for Poland, after narrowly missing out on a singles berth. Partyka has already played in the Olympics but Tapper will double the number of Paralympians competing in Rio for the first time.
Partyka, a 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 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 honour, but I think the biggest win is for our sport.”
International Table Tennis Federation (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.
More information can be found on the ITTF’s website.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.