Partyka's tale of grit and determination

When Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka prepares to serve you realise just how impressive she is.

Natalia Partyka

The 23-year-old was born without a right forearm and has to carefully balance the ball in the folds of skin at the end of her elbow before dropping it on to her swishing bat.

She is one of only two people scheduled to compete in both the Olympics and its Paralympic cousin this year, the other being South African blade runner Oscar Pistorius.

"For me, it (disability) is nothing," she told reporters after losing her third round match to Netherlands' Jie Li. "I am playing the same lines as the others. I am doing the same exercises,’’ she added.

"We have the same goals and the same dreams and I can play like them. I can serve and don't have any problems,’’ Partyka said. "I get a bit bored about being asked about disability all the time,’’ she added.

She is happy, however, if her achievements act as an inspiration to others. "Maybe someone will see me and realise that their own disability is not the end of the world," Partyka said.

"Maybe someone will look at me and think they can achieve something bigger than they thought. Maybe sometimes you have to work a little bit harder if you really want to do something. If I'm an inspiration I can't complain,’’ she said.

Her individual Olympic campaign was ended when she gave away a two-game lead to lose 4-2 but she still has the team event to come and then she must defend the Paralympic title she won four years ago in Beijing.

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