Mateja Pintar in 2009
|Disability||Lower body paralysis|
|Former partner(s)||Andreja Dolinar|
|Updated on 27 November 2017.|
Pintar enjoyed sports as a child. A month prior to her 15th birthday, while hiking on a hill near Lubník, Slovenia, she slipped and fell. Pintar fell unconscious and was evacuated by helicopter. She had damaged several vertebrae and compressed her spine. Pintar lost the use of her legs, and required the use of a wheelchair. She spent five months rehabilitating, during which time she tried table tennis for the first time. She enjoyed it, and following fellow Slovenian Andreja Dolinar's fourth place at the 2000 Summer Paralympics, Pintar decided that she wanted to pursue the sport after she had completed education.
Her first tournament was in Bibone, Italy, in 2002, where she took a set off Olympic champion Alena Kanova of Slovakia. After a point was challenged, she lost focus, which she later described as the lowest point of her career. She teamed up with Dolinar and won the doubles competition at the European Championship, qualifying for the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, at the same time. She attended her first Paralympics in Athens, later saying that the toughest match was the semi-final game. Pintar went on to win the individual gold medal, making her well known in her home country.
She went on to win a bronze medal at the 2004 World Para Table Tennis Championships in Montreux, Switzerland, and repeated that success at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, China. Pintar stopped competing in 2014, and announced her formal retirement from table tennis in 2017. In the meanwhile, she had taken up work as a translator.
- ""Kdo pravi, da ničesar ne morem?"". Cosmopolitan (in Slovenian). 25 August 2005. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "Mateja Pintar: 'Od nekdaj sem želela življenje športnice'" (in Slovenian). Aktivni.si. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "Mateja Pintar končala športno pot". Zsis.si. Retrieved 27 November 2017.