By Duncan Mackay

Joanna Mendak getting honour off polish presidentFebruary 9 - A special ceremony has been held in Warsaw for Poland's Paralympic medallists from London 2012, where the country's President Bronislaw Komorowski greeted them.

Poland enjoyed its most successful Games since Sydney 2000 as they finished ninth overall with a total of 36 medals, including 14 gold. 

"Thank you for the great lesson you gave us in humanity and civic pride," Komorowski told the athletes at the Presidential Palace in Poland's capital.

"This is a great day for us. 

"Due to the success in London, we can build a bridge of normalcy for people with disabilities."

A total of 101 athletes represented Poland in 11 sports.

The most successful athlete was handcyclist Rafał Wilk, who won gold medals in the  men's road time trial and road race.

Rafal Wilk London 2012Former speedway rider Rafal Wilk won two gold medals in handcycling at London 2012

Wilk had formerly been one of Poland's top speedway riders before suffering an accident in 2006 and losing both of his legs. 

He only took up cycling in 2011 after his career as a coach in speedway was ended when he was fired by KMZ Lublin.

Other successful athletes at London 2012 included Joanna Mendak (pictured top meeting Komorowski), who won the women's 100 metres butterfly in the S12 category, and table tennis player Natalia Partyka, winner of the individual title in the class 10 for the third consecutive Games. 

Natalia Partyka London 2012 ParalympicsNatalia Partyka won Paralympic gold for the third consecutive Games at London 2012

She also competed in the Olympics for the second Games in row, reaching the last 32 at London 2012. 

Poland had made its debut in the Paralympics at Heidelberg in 1972 when they sent a team of 22, but failed to win a medal.

Their first medal came at Toronto four years later when they finished seventh overall with 53 medals, including 24 gold.

It remains their best-ever performance at the Games.

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