|Tapper is close to making history for Australia!|
Melissa TAPPER is on the verge of becoming the first Australian athlete to compete at both an Olympics and Paralympics, after finishing top two at the 2016 Oceania Championships in Bendigo, Australia.
After securing her path to the final stage of Olympic qualification, TAPPER stated: "I am on the home stretch now, it's very close. I'm relieved that I performed when I needed to perform, I just need to clear this one last hurdle."
"I haven't begun to think about what it would mean to compete at both the Olympics and the Paralympics. I'm definitely playing well."
26-year-old TAPPER, who was born with nerve damage in her right arm needs to finish in the top three of the five-player Olympic qualifier on Friday to formalise her nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee.
TAPPER will take on two Fijians, one Tuvalu player and a fellow Australian on Friday in the battle for the three Olympic places up for grabs.
TAPPER will only the the 13th athlete to achieve this feat in the world if she succeeds, and the second table tennis player after Poland's Natalia PARTYKA.
She made history in 2014 when she qualified to compete at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and has already qualified to compete at this year's Paralympics.
The ITTF-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament will take place on Friday 25 March at the brand new Ulumbarra Theatre, which is the first time a major table tennis event has been held in such a venue.
The Oceania Olympic Trials has even attracted the International Table Tennis President (ITTF) Thomas WEIKERT to Bendigo, which is only the third time that an ITTF President has visited the Oceania region.
On his visit, the ITTF President stated: "I am very excited to be here in Bendigo for this very important event. This is my first time visiting Australia and Oceania, and my experience here so far has been fantastic. I am very interested in seeing table tennis played in a theatre, which will further boost the presentation of our sport."
A series of matches will take place, in a 'do or die' format in which each match will either see an athlete qualify for the Olympic Games, or have their Olympic dream come to an end
The action takes centre stage at the Ulumbarra Theatre from 12:00pm on Good Friday, 25th March 2016. Tickets are available through Capital Venus & Events on +61 5434 6100 or through www.gotix.com.au.