Injury forces withdrawal of Australian Star, replacement set to shine
A determined Melissa Tapper looking for gold at the K-Sports 2013 ITTF-Oceania Cup. Photo courtesy of ITTF.
The Australian squad has been hit with an injury in the lead up to the K-Sports 2013 ITTF-Oceania Cup. Two-time finalist, and Australian Number 1, Jian Fang Lay has had to withdraw from the competition due to a torn calf muscle sustained at the Australia Table Tennis Open held earlier this month.
Replacing Jian Fang Lay at the Bendigo Stadium from 30 June – 2 July will be Paralympian, Melissa Tapper from Melbourne
"It's a big surprise to be called up at the last minute, but to be given the opportunity to represent Australia on home soil is great" said Tapper.
Milly, as her friends call her, is no stranger to representing Australia, having worn the green and gold at the London 2012 Paralympics. Having first picked up a table tennis bat at the age of 12, Tapper grew up playing against able-bodied athletes, and claimed several Australian Junior titles over the years, having also represented Australia at the World Table Tennis Junior Championships
It wasn't until 2010 when it was suggested she try Paralympic table tennis. "I was reluctant at first, as I have never viewed myself as having a disability" claimed Tapper. Once she embraced the idea and began training for with the Australian Para Table Tennis squad, her rise in the world of Paralympic table tennis grew.
Having claimed the 2011 Hungarian and Italian Open titles, the 23 year old was able to cap off a stellar year claiming a silver medal at the 2011 Asia-Oceania Regional Para Table Tennis Championships, which finished off a stellar year, and ranked her Number 1 in the world for Class 10 Para Table Tennis athletes
"The experience gained through competing at the London 2012 Paralympics assists with mentally preparing for international competitions as big as the ITTF-Oceania Cup."
Tapper finished the London 2012 Paralympics with a 4th placing, and will be aiming for a medal at the next Paralympic Games
"I love a challenge, and playing against the best in Oceania will only assist in my preparations for Rio in 2016" claimed Tapper
For more information, please contact ITTF-Oceania's Development Officer Michael Brown at email@example.com.
About the K-Sports 2013 ITTF-Oceania Cup
The ITTF-Oceania Cup is the premier Table Tennis event on the ITTF-Oceania calendar.The event sees a total prize pool of over AU$20,000, with the Men's and Women's Champion gaining entry into their respective World Cup.
The K-Sports 2013 ITTF-Oceania Cup will be staged at the Bendigo Stadium from 30 June – 2 July. Tickets are on sale now through the Bendigo Visitors Centre.
STARTS 2013 ITTF Women's World Cup - Kobe, Japan | 21 - 23 Setpember 2013
LIEBHERR 2013 ITTF Men's World Cup - Verviers, Belgium | 25 - 27 October 2013
Find out more about the K-Sports 2013 ITTF-Oceania Cup at ITTFOceania.com/ittfoceaniacup.
About ITTF-Oceania (Oceania Table Tennis Federation)
The ITTF-Oceania (Oceania Table Tennis Federation) is responsible for the sport of table tennis within the Oceania Region - Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Ocean. ITTF-Oceania has 24 affiliated National Associations.
Find out more about the ITTF-Oceania (Oceania Table Tennis Federation) at ITTFOceania.com.
About International Table Tennis Federation
The International Table Tennis Federation is responsible for the global sport of table tennis and has 218 affiliated National Associations. Table Tennis is an Olympic Sport, introduced at the 1988 Seoul Olympics Games. Table Tennis is also a Paralympic Sport.
Find out more about the International Table Tennis Federation at ITTF.com.