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Brazilian table tennis player Bruna Alexandre set to make history with Olympic and Paralympic selection

By George Ramsay and Duarte Mendonça, CNN

(CNN) — Table tennis player Bruna Alexandre will make history later this year as the first person from Brazil to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Earlier this week, the Brazilian Table Tennis Confederation announced that Alexandre, a one-armed athlete who has won four Paralympic medals, would be part of the team competing at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

“I never thought that I would live and withstand so many challenges that life has imposed on me since my (first) 2 months of life, but today I can celebrate, sing and even cry and share with everyone who loves me and who follows my journey of becoming the FIRST ATHLETE IN THE HISTORY OF BRAZIL being called to play the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same Olympics!” Alexandre wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.

“When my parents were still crying for the loss of my arm when I was still a baby, they heard that one day I would still make them very proud, and to be able to share this achievement with them and with you reminds me that God’s dreams will never die, because it is in scenarios of loss that He makes winners be born.”

Alexandre, who had her right arm amputated following a blood clot when she was a baby, competed against able-bodied athletes at last year’s in Pan-American Games in Santiago, Chile.

The 29-year-old will now join the likes of South African runner Oscar Pistorius and Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka by appearing at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Partyka became the youngest Paralympian in table tennis history when she competed at Sydney 2000 aged just 11, and then became the first table tennis player to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing eight years later.

“I was always inspired by Natalia Partyka for all she achieved in her career,” Alexandre told earlier this year. “I was inspired by her so much that I focused a lot to beat her, and last year I managed to do it.

“I continue to be inspired by her. I think she started this history of table tennis: she played Olympic and Paralympic table tennis together and that gives me great inspiration.”

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