Melissa Tapper ready for second Olympic Games after booking ticket to Tokyo

GREEN AND GOLD: Hamilton export Melissa Tapper will represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in table tennis. She won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Getty Images
GREEN AND GOLD: Hamilton export Melissa Tapper will represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in table tennis. She won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Getty Images

MELISSA Tapper - the first Australian athlete to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games - says she feels ready to make an impact in Tokyo.

The Hamilton-raised, South Melbourne-based table tennis player was on Wednesday announced as one of two players added to the six-strong Australian team.

Tapper, 30, told ACM she was prepared for her second Olympic tilt.

"In Rio I got to do my best to enjoy the experience and take it all in and this time around it's going to be a good chance to really put more of an emphasis to performing my best on the day," she said.

"In Rio I remember it took me at least a set to start feeling comfortable. I am hoping this time around that the earlier (I feel comfortable) the better."

Tapper knows the vibe, given no international visitors will be in the stands due to coronavirus restrictions, will be vastly different to the 2016 games.

"I think being a Victorian (and being in multiple lockdowns) I feel we're going to be well accustomed to what's going to be happening," she said.

"It's definitely going to be different but it's a great opportunity to be focused on preparing and competing.

GREEN AND GOLD: Hamilton export Melissa Tapper will represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in table tennis. She won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

GREEN AND GOLD: Hamilton export Melissa Tapper will represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in table tennis. She won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"Nonetheless I am really stoked to be on my second Olympic team."

Tapper is in Melbourne and hopes to fly to Queensland for nationals at the end of the month.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who has Erb's palsy, will leave on a chartered flight for Japan on July 19.

"It will be good to get a little bit of competition in before heading over," she said.

"It will probably be the main and only comp we've had in well over 18 months.

"It's been OK. I am lucky that I have creative people around me that I work with so we're doing our best to make training as close as possible to match situations and the (12-month Olympic) delay meant we also had greater opportunity to work on different areas."

Tapper said she was grateful she could maintain her training during Melbourne's latest snap lockdown.

"Thankfully, as I am very lucky under the high performance guidance, I am still able to attend training at the national centre," she said.

"I wake up, I go train, come home and that's it but that's a general day almost anyway in my life."

This story Second Olympics tilt for seasoned table tennis competitor first appeared on The Standard.