HAMILTON Olympian Melissa Tapper is eager to make the most of the delay to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
The Games of the XXXII (32nd) Olympiad were expected to run between July 24 and August 9 but due to the coronavirus have been postponed almost a year.
Tapper, who was recently named co-captain of Para table tennis squad, has another year to take her game to another level as she chases strong performances at both the Olympics and Paralympics in 2021.
"You plan and train for four years to be ready for when the Games come but in saying that everyone has to deal with it," the 30-year-old said of the rescheduling.
"I guess once I get told when the trials are I will get my head around it, work with my team again and make sure we put in everything in place for what the next period is going to look like and be ready for it."
Tapper had booked her ticket for the Paralympics but was a strong chance at the Australian trials, which were meant to be held at the end of April, to make the main Olympic team.
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She was disappointed to not be heading to Tokyo, where she hoped to score a medal in Paralympics and play well in the Olympics, this year but the silver lining in the postponement quickly shone through.
"I have been making improvements all over the place and I was happy with the team I have got, which made things exciting," she said.
"It would have been nice to see what we could have done in July-August but now we have more time to make things ever better."
Tapper said she was lucky to still train in some way for her sport whilst in isolation in Melbourne.
"I have got a good set up in the garage," she said. "With the Victorian Institute of Sport closed they set me up with some gear and I ordered a bit as well.
"We brought one of the tables from the training centre and set it up in the back room.
"My husband (Simon Gerada) can play and so can my housemate (Ashley Robinson) so I train with them.
"I practice with Ashley on a regular basis and I am grateful we are able to because others either don't have a table or don't have someone to practice with."
The tight confines of the garage are also helping Tapper strengthen another part of her game that could prove helpful in a close match.
"My style had to be altered a little as I don't have as much room as I would in a stadium so we have focused on improving my play over the table," she said.
"Sometimes it (playing over the table) is a little thing that gets overlooked so it's actually good to be able to spend time on it as it's a good advantage."
Tapper is excited to lead the Australian Paralympic table tennis team when it finally plays at the Games in 2021.
"It's nice to take on a role that is a bit different as I don't normally put myself forward for those sorts of things," she said.
"I wanted to challenge myself and hopefully to get as much as possible out of rest of the team."
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