With nearly 22.000 fans on facebook, Natalia Partyka fascinates beyond table tennis. As a true icon in her country, the polish player is now recognized as one of the greatest Paralympic athletes, and sometimes as one of the best players of her generation. Born without a right forearem, Natalia developed an excellent technique that provided the 24 year-old with a most impressive track record on the world tour and Paralympic events.
The European Junior Champion of 2004’s event in Bratislava, Natalia Partyka participated in the Athen Paralympic Games the same year, where the Gdanks native clinched her first Paralympics Singles’ title. Four years earlier, in Sydney, she was the youngest participant of the Paralympic Games at Age 11. Two records already, with more to follow: In Beijing and London, she defended her paralympic title (class 10), and above all, Partyka became the second player to participate in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As runner-up in the European Championships in the teams’ division, she won several medals in the doubles’ and teams’ competition.
Natalia PARTYKA talks about disability:
Nataila is a left handed player with a fearsome topspin and a wide range of Services, she entered the world top 50 in 2010 and has since then never left the upper 100 ranks. In the beginning of 2014, she was honoured twice in her capacity as an athlete an an exceptional woman. Under the ITTF “dream building” program, she was made ambassador of the international table tennis federation to develop the sport.
“It is a great honour for me and I am really proud to participate in the program. I hope we can encourage many people worldwide to play table tennis”, Natalia hopes. “It is difficult, but worth every effort to succeed.” A few weeks later, the Paralympic Committee (IPC), which designated six exceptional athletes, nominated Partyka. “I am little surprised to be nominated for this IPC award among such great women. I am really happy and know now I have to work even harder to prove that I deserve this nomination.”
As often, the beginning of Partykas career relates to family history. In this case, Natalia followed her older sister:
“I wanted to emulate her. It was just a hobby in the beginning, but table tennis became more to me.” It was much later, after she won the European title, she realized this. “I was 15 and then I thought maybe I could become even better. I decided to commit myself to the sport. I always wanted to play like the Chinese, because they are the best. They have the best technique and play very intelligently. I particularly like Guo Yue, she is also left handed.”
In the national team, Natalia has long played alongside two players, who trained in China. (Li Qian and Xu Jie). “I have had the opportunity to play and train with them, in that I have learned a lot, but they no longer play. Today we must face European teams with Chinese Players in their ranks. It is difficult but we have no choice.”
Natalia Partyka trains on the shores of the Baltic sea in Gdansk which houses the polish national center. “The conditions are excellent with a set of good players and training partners.” Currently the world ranked 81, Natalia believes in her ability to go even higher:
“Back into the Top 50 is a possibility, but it is a matter of details. I know what I need to improve, I have to work on my mental strength to be better.” And the Paralympics?: “I have won everything in it, but I also love to play and it is nice. But of course most important is the professional circuit.”
A story about Natalia by Christophe Legout:
One day, during a regional workshop in Istres, a girl caught my attention. She played well but most interesting was she seemed to enjoy herself in spite of the gazes she caught for her disability. This young player of 10 years was born with only one arm, but the passion that animates her seemed stronger than most players her age. So I did not hesitate to talk to her about the polish player Natalia Partyka, who has the same handicap – and plays at the highest international level. So I have asked the girl to watch some videos on the internet, but also promised to bring her a DVD of Partyka and her greatest successes.
During the next World Tour Tournament, I talked to Partyka about this girl, and she promised me to prepare an autographed DVD compiling many of her best games to inspire my young student. Fifteen days later, we met in Germany and in the Corner of the Training hall, Partyka handed me the DVD with a signed photo that will soon make someone very happy..
Relive the paralympic finals match of Natalia: