One-armed table tennis player eyes both Olympics and Paralympics

Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre trains during the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. The one-armed 28-year-old athlete, who starts competing at the Pan American Games on Thursday, is pushing to make it to Brazil’s national team for both Olympics and Paralympics. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)Brazil’s Bruna Alexandre trains during the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.

Brazil’s No. 3 women’s table tennis player, Alexandre will be the first athlete from the Americas to join that exclusive group it if she is picked for the Olympic team. Her spot at the Paralympics is already secured.

“I always had sports in my life, like indoor soccer, skateboarding, cycling,” Alexandre told The Associated Press in Santiago this week. “I started at table tennis at age 7 just because my brother was playing and I had to call him back home.”

During practice in Santiago, analysts said Alexandre doesn’t have as much mobility and footwork as other players and her one-handed serve is not as effective. But she has powerful hits and plays defense well.

She has played Paralympic sports since age 13. She moved from southern city of Criciuma to Sao Caetano near Sao Paulo at age 16. She has worked with Brazil’s Olympic team, which currently has one of the few players in the world who can challenge the top Chinese players, Hugo Calderano.

“I am hoping for gold at the Paralympics, but the Olympics do make me dream,” she said. “I can barely believe this could happen. I have to work on my mindset to get it done. Very few athletes can do that, it is very hard for someone like me to reach the Olympics.”

One Piece Details One of Vegapunk’s Most Cursed DetailsDr. Vegapunk has played a major role in One Piece’s final saga so far, and a cursed detail about the scientist has been revealed. Read more ⮕

PODCAST: Rangers need two wins; Cowboys, just one big oneIn this week’s SportsDay Insider podcast, Kevin Sherrington, Evan Grant and David Moore discuss the Rangers’ Game 3 win over Arizona in the desert, giving… Read more ⮕

Travis Barker Reveals Name He and Kourtney Kardashian Picked for Baby Boy — and He’s Mentioned It BeforeThe Blink 182 drummer revealed the name during the ‘One Life One Chance’ podcast. Read more ⮕

Adventures in HealingLearning how to live, one day, one friendship at a time. Read more ⮕

Pitch Perfect Cast: Where Are They Now?Three became directors, one got a Tony, and one joined the Avengers. Read more ⮕

Los Angeles to host 2026 Pan Pacific swimming championships ahead of 2028 Summer OlympicsThe 2026 Pan Pacific Championships will be moved from Canada to Los Angeles, giving the city a chance to host a major international swimming meet ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics. The agreement between the charter nations of Australia, Canada, Japan and the U.S. was announced Tuesday. Read more ⮕