10 Jun 2024

The world of table tennis is set to witness a historic moment at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Bruna Alexandre, a trailblazing Brazilian athlete, has been selected to compete in both events, making her the first Brazilian to achieve this remarkable feat. Her journey to this milestone has been nothing short of inspirational, blending perseverance, talent, and an unyielding spirit.

Bruna Alexandre has been a prominent figure in para table tennis for years, having secured three Paralympic medals. Her determination and skill have also earned her a place on Brazil’s able-bodied women’s team, which secured a quota spot for the upcoming Olympics. Alexandre’s inclusion in both the Olympic and Paralympic rosters is a testament to her exceptional ability to bridge the gap between these two competitive arenas.

At 29, Bruna Alexandre joins the elite ranks of athletes such as South African runner Oscar Pistorius and Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka, who have competed in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Partyka made history as the youngest Paralympian in table tennis at age 11 during the Sydney 2000 Games and later became the first table tennis player to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics at the Beijing 2008 Games.

Bruna Alexandre poses with her Bronze medal, next to Natalia Partyka and China’s Qian Yang at the The Paralympics in Rio 2016. Photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

Alexandre’s journey has been profoundly influenced by Poland’s Natalia Partyka. “I was always inspired by Natalia Partyka for all she achieved in her career,” Alexandre shared. “I focused a lot to beat her, and last year I managed to do it.” This victory not only symbolised a personal achievement for Alexandre but also solidified her resolve to follow in Partyka’s footsteps and make history in Paris.

Born with thrombosis that led to the amputation of her right arm as a newborn, Alexandre has spent her life adapting to and overcoming this physical challenge. She began playing table tennis at the age of seven and quickly demonstrated her prowess, earning a spot on the national team by age eleven. Her journey has been marked by significant milestones, including winning the regular Brazilian national title twice.

Alexandre credits her success to a diverse training regimen that includes sports like futsal and skateboarding, which have helped her develop balance and coordination. “Skateboarding provides this sense of body and balance. The strength of the entire body has to be stable,” she explained. This diverse athletic background has been instrumental in her ability to compete at the highest levels in both para and able-bodied table tennis.

Bruna will be part of the Brazilian Women’s Team at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, joining sisters, Bruna and Giulia Takahashi.

Following her recent strong performance in the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan, Alexandre has noted the differences between para table tennis and able-bodied competition. “The Olympic sport is a much faster game,” she observed. The intense focus and high-speed gameplay in regular table tennis have sharpened her skills, making her a formidable opponent in both arenas.

With Brazil already guaranteed a women’s team entry in Paris, Alexandre’s selection was a significant milestone. She now aims to add to her Paralympic medal tally and make a strong showing at the Olympics. “I hope to be able to play the Olympic Games and get the gold medal in Paris [at the Paralympic Games],” she stated. “In Tokyo, I took the silver, but I see that my preparation is getting better and better.”

Alexandre’s achievements extend beyond her personal accolades. She sees herself as a role model and a source of inspiration for others with disabilities. “I’m very happy to represent all people with disabilities and to show that everything is possible,” she said. Her journey exemplifies the message that “disability is nothing,” and her success serves as a beacon of hope and motivation for countless others.

Bruna Alexandre’s selection for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris 2024 is a historic achievement that underscores her extraordinary talent and determination. As she steps onto the global stage, she not only aims to make history for herself and her country but also to inspire a new generation of athletes to pursue their dreams, regardless of the challenges they face.

General News Paralympics Para Table Tennis Paris 2024 Olympic Games paris 2024

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