Melissa Tapper

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Quick Facts

Disability
Erbs palsy - nerve damage in right arm
How acquired
Birth
Date of Birth
Thu, 01/03/1990
Home
South Melbourne, VIC
Started Competing
2002
First Competed for Australia
2004
Games Experience
London 2012
Heroes
Her father Charles
Career Highlights
Winning the 2011 Hungarian and Italian Opens, finishing fourth at London 2012
Greatest Moment
Winning the 2011 Hungarian and Italian Opens

Bio

Her rapid rise in international table tennis suggests that Melissa Tapper grew up with a table tennis racket in her hand but it wasn’t until she was 12 that the Melbourne local first picked up the bat.

Growing up in Hamilton, Melissa began her table tennis career in the able-bodied arena, competing against able-bodied athletes for years despite having brachial plexus nerve damage in her right arm. With few female players in her area, Melissa often played against able-bodied men and soon began to beat them, carving out the foundations for a successful career in able-bodied table tennis. With her sights set on the Olympic Games, she decided to take table tennis seriously and knuckled down with training.

At 18, she was the number one junior female table tennis player in Australia; she was U18 Oceania champion and U21 Australian champion and was moving her way up the world rankings.

But Melissa’s world changed when it was suggested she try Paralympic table tennis. While reluctant at first, having never viewed herself as having a disability, Melissa soon embraced the idea and began training for national selection on the Australian Para-Table Tennis Squad, where she shone.

Underneath her humble, calm exterior Melissa is ruthless on the table tennis table and in 2011 alone, has won a string of singles gold medals at the Hungarian, Italian and British Opens and the Arafura Games. Having started 2011 ranked 19 in the world, her rise to number one was unprecedented. At her first Paralympic Games in London, Melissa was the best performing Australian in table tennis since 1984, finishing fourth after she lost the bronze medal match to China’s Lei Fan. Following the Games, Melissa threw herself into intensive training overseas and most recently won gold at the Bayreuth German Open Nationals where she defeated some of the best in the world to claim victory.

Having studying Exercise Science, Melissa is passionate about keeping fit but also loves to indulge in the occasional piece of chocolate.





Sport & Disciplines

Sport: Table Tennis
Disciplines: Singles
Classification: Class 10
Sport: Table Tennis
Disciplines: Teams
Classification: Class 10