• Melissa Tapper (Table Tennis Australia)Source: Table Tennis Australia
Victoria table tennis player Melissa Tapper is one step closer to becoming the first Australian to compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio.
Source:
AAP
23 Feb 2016 - 7:26 AM  UPDATED 23 Feb 2016 - 7:26 AM

Table tennis player Melissa Tapper is one step closer to her dream of representing Australia at both the Olympics and Paralympics this year.

The 25-year-old has qualified for next month's Oceania Olympic table tennis qualifiers in Bendigo after finishing third at the Tweed Heads tournament on Monday night.

The London Paralympian needed a top-five finish.

Tapper will be joined in Victoria by four-time Olympian, Miao Miao, and London Olympian, Vivian Dederko.

If Australia qualifies for Rio it can only take three male and three female players, and Tapper said finishing third at Tweed Heads has given her plenty of confidence.

The Victorian said being under constant pressure in high quality matches will help her preparation for the Paralympics in Brazil.

"If I'm lucky enough to get to go the Olympics as well, it's another event I'll get to check off on," she said.

Countdown to Rio: Table tennis star Melissa Tapper seeks to make history
Table Tennis star Melissa Tapper is close to becoming Australia’s first dual Olympian and Paralympian

Tapper had never beaten Vivian Dederko before, but defeated her twice in Tweed Heads.

Dederko said it's been an enormous challenge to get back to table tennis after having a baby recently, but she's relieved to have finished fourth.

"A couple of games I didn't play very well, so I was a bit disappointed," she said.

"Now I have another chance through Bendigo to earn a singles spot for Rio."

Miao Miao took the final Bendigo spot on offer.