Melissa Tapper will make history in Rio becoming the first Australian to have competed at both the Paralympic and Olympic Games. Tapper represented Australia at the London 2012 Paralympics and will now feature at both the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Tapper was born with brachial plexus when her she got stuck during birth and the doctors pulled her out by her right arm which tore the nerves between her neck and her right shoulder.
She began playing table tennis when she was eight, made her first able-bodied junior Australian team at 14 and was the nation’s top ranked junior athlete at 18. She played her first Paralympic competition in 2009 and went on to finish fourth after going down in five sets in the class ten singles bronze medal match at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Tapper won a bronze medal as a part of the Australian women’s team at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Playing alongside Rio 2016 teammates Jian Fang Lay and Sally Zhang, along with Miao Miao and Vivian Dederko, Tapper and the Australian Team defeated India in the bronze medal match 3-1.
Tapper qualified for the Rio Games after a strong showing at both the Oceania Championships and the Oceania Qualification Tournament in Bendigo. The 26-year-old defeated four-time Australian Olympian Miao Miao and Sally Zhang to make the final of the Oceania Championships to ensure she secured one of two spots at the qualification tournament. Despite losing against Jian Fang Lay in the opener, she went on to defeat Fijian Grace Lee in her next match to make history and qualify for Rio.
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Singles Women, Team Women
Hamilton, VIC, Australia
South Melbourne, VIC, Australia
- Rio will be Olympic debut.
- 2nd - 2016 Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament (Bendigo, Australia)
- 2nd - 2016 Oceania Championships (Bendigo, Australia)
- 53rd - 2016 World Team Table Tennis Championships (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
- Bronze Medal 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games ( first Australian Paralympic athlete to quailify in able bodied games).
- Fourth place 2012 London Paralympic Games.
- Qualifying for both the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- George Street Primary School (VIC, Australia)
- Monivae College: 2002-2004 (VIC, Australia), Caulfield Grammar School: 2005-2007 (VIC, Australia)
- Bachelor of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University (2008-2010)
Simon Gerada (2010-current)
Health Wellness & Table Tennis, Melbourne, Victoria
Victorian Institute of Sport
Primary Training Base
- Try to have none
- Favourite food
- Caramel Fudge, Pavlova, chocolate
- Favourite holiday destination
- Favourite music
- Dream car
- Personal Motto
- Only the strong survive
- Star Sign
- I would spend my last $10 on
- Tatto on left wrist of a star and on my right foot with 'jack & Ann' my grandparents
- If I could try another Olympic sport it would be
- Most Inspiring Olympic Performance?
- Cathy Freeman 2000 Olympics
- First Olympic Memory?
- 2000 Olympics
- Most Influential person in your career/life
- Why this sport?
- Why not this sport?