This edition of the Ask a Butterfly Pro Anything series features Paralympic table tennis sensation Natalia Partyka. Poland’s Natalia Partyka holds an incredible record of winning 4 consecutive Paralympic Table Tennis Gold Medals at 4 separate Paralympic games.

 

She claimed her first Gold in Athens in 2004 and her most recent in Rio in 2016 and aims to gain a 5th Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games. In addition to her incredible Para success Natalia competes at the highest level of Olympic table tennis and has competed in 3 Olympic games, the first of which being the Beijing 2008 games. In London 2012 she was one of only two athletes competing in both the Paralympics and the Olympics. Natalia is currently ranked at world number 73 and has been as high as 48.

 

Last month we asked  Butterfly Instagram followers to send in their questions to Natalia. We have picked 20 of the best ones and these are her answers:

 

@mosesliu asks: Why did you choose to play table tennis?

“I have choose table tennis because my older sister Sandra played. She started playing first and then after a few months I just joined her.  Many years we have practised together at the same club.”

 

@Steven Thompson asks: Who inspired you to start playing table tennis?

“My sister. She played first so you know me as a younger sister I just wanted to do the same things as her 😉 Let’s say that I was following her”

 

@mhrcio asks: How good were you when you started table tennis? Were you talented from the start?

 

“Not so good…I couldn’t play at all. I learned step by step everything and every day improving a little.”

 

@thegaspro asks: How has Paralympic table tennis evolved over the years?

 

“I am really happy to see that every year Paralympic table tennis is becoming more professional and is treated more seriously all over the world. There are more players, on a higher level. They can really play well and you know there is the same passion, same goals and same emotions like in olympic tt- that’s the most important!”

 

@____pejaaaa____ asks: What was your feeling when you won first a Paralympic medal?

 

“I was extremely happy! 🙂 It was my first gold, I have dreamed about that medal before and I just made my dreams come true.”

 

 

@tarikcandemir4 asks: Which serve do you like to serve more? And why?

 

“It depends on my opponent 😉 But more I like to serve upspin serve because then I can play my game.”

 

@benko_tomas asks: How has your disability affected your table tennis career? What are the differences in the training?

 

“At the beginning I just had to find my way to serve and then it was normal!”

 

@im_osama01 asks: How do you maintain the motivation to achieve a target.
P.S huge respect to you ma’am 🙂

 

“I really like to compete so upcoming tournament help me to maintain the motivation. But you know, my motivation is not always on the top level, sometimes I have worse days but when that happens I am always trying to find a joy during practice and then think about my goals and dreams. It always helps”

 

@gladwinnn_ asks: Who is the hardest opponent you ever faced?

 

“I think that the hardest opponents are Chinese players. When you play against them you feel like they have no weak side 😉 It’s not that easy to win a point.”

 

@sxn05 asks: What you feel when you lose match and how do you deal with it psychologically

 

“It always depends on that how I played. No one likes to lose. Sometimes I am disappointed, sometimes angry. Sometimes satisfied on my performance. Sometimes even if you play well you are not able to win a match…that’s a pity but it just happen. I took me a few years to learn and understand that.”

 

@dave_rubeals asks: what equipment do you use and why?

 

“I am using blade Innerforce ALC and Tenergy 05 on the forehand and Tenergy 05fx on the backhand.
I am using this equipment because it’s the best combination- speed, power and control as well.”

 

 

@Dave Cochrane asks: What international player inspires you the most?

 

“I think that chinese.. because they are really the best players in the world.”

 

@Esteban Barros F asks: What inspires you the most to continue playing Table Tennis and do you have any advice for the people who lost his/her inspiration in this beautiful sport?

 

“I really like to play and I just want to be better player. I believe that is possible. Still I have many goals and dreams that’s why I am not giving up and keep fighting. If we ever lose inspiration or motivation it’s important to find joy and fun again! And remember why we liked to play before.”

 

Taande Wangchuk asks: Who is favourite TT player ever?

 

“I have few. I like Ding Ning , Liu Shiwen, Ma Long.  Many years ago I liked a lot Zhang Yining.”

 

Lívia Melicherova asks: What do you consider to be the biggest achievement in your life ? And What would you say to young people who forgot that anything is possible?

 

“I hope that my biggest achievement has still not happened yet :). A huge meaning for me is that as a disabled person I am able to compete on the high level with able bodied players. My other favourite achievements are playing at Olympics, winning a medal at European Championships and that I am no. 1 at Paralympic table tennis.”

“I would say to young people dream big! Believe in yourself! Work hard! And never give up! I think that my story or story of another Paralympian’s is the confirmation of that that anything is possible.”

 

 

Adam Sieradzki asks: Do you have your sports idol outside of table tennis? Who is it?

 

“I don’t have one, but I am always watching top athletes from different sports and am always trying to find something which could help me to improve as a player.”

 

Magdalena Jurczyk-Bunkowska asks: Who is an unforgettable opponent for you and why?

 

“I have played against many great players and it is always unforgettable.
But I think that the most unforgettable matches for me I have played in first few years of my table tennis career against disabled players. They showed me what passion, dedication and pure joy means.”

 

Sławomir Król asks: How do you manage to combine private life with being a professional table tennis player?

 

“It’s not very easy but I am playing many years so I managed to combine that already 😉
Me, and my family just had to used to this that often I am away from home and travelling a lot.”

 

Thanks for reading this article! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more articles like this one and all the latest updates from Butterfly Table Tennis!

 

Butterfly Facebook: www.facebook.com/butterflyttofficial

Butterfly Instagram: www.instagram.com/butterflyttofficial

Also be sure to follow Natalia on Facebook and Instagram and follow her incredible table tennis journey!

Natalia’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/npartyka

Natalia’s Official Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/nataliapartyka

About The Author

Seb

Seb has succeeded in living his passion for table tennis. A long-time player, he connected to professional table tennis as commentator for the ITTF, travelling to top events such as World Championships and reporting live from the action. In 2014, Seb became part of the Butterfly Team, working in international Sales and Marketing at Butterfly Europe in Germany.

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