Paddler Bhavinaben Patel wins historic silver at Tokyo Paralympics

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Bhavinaben Patel was only the second Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics on Sunday after she retired with historic silver after a 3-0 defeat by the world’s leading Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the final of the women’s table tennis class 4.

The 34-year-old Patel’s impressive run at the Games ended with a 7:11, 5:11, 6:11 loss to Zhou, a two-time gold medalist, in the women’s singles, which lasted 19 minutes.

With this medal, the Indian team opened its account at the games.

Deepa Malik, the current president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), was the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic Games when she took silver in the shot put in Rio five years ago.

Patel, a wheelchair user, also suffered a loss to Zhou, one of the most decorated para-paddlers in China, in her first group game earlier this week.

Against an opponent who has five Paralympic medals, including gold medals in singles in Beijing and London, Patel seemed to be fighting because she could not implement her strategy and had to catch up.

Zhou, a six-time world championship medalist, didn’t let Patel, who is currently 12th in her class, find her weird setbacks and get into a rally.

In the first game, Zhou dropped out 3-3 to take the lead. Patel tried to keep herself within reach with an excellent serve at 5-7 and a forehand flick, but the Chinese managed to earn the brag with a deep push at the baseline.

The second game was a one-way street as Zhou took an early 7-1 lead. Patel downsized it to 4-7, but the Chinese soon took a 2-0 lead.

Sidelined, Patel tried to write a rebound as she moved up to 5-5 with her opponent in the third game. But Zhou pulled forward again and sealed the fight with a backhand shot.

Patel, who was diagnosed with polio at the age of 12 months, had beaten number 3 in the world rankings Miao Zhang from China with 7-11 11-7 11-4 9-11 11-8 in the semi-finals on Saturday.

In the quarter-finals on Friday, Patel had defeated the gold medalist of the Rio Paralympics 2016 and world number runner-up Borislava Peric Rankovic from Serbia to secure a medal and a script story.

In para table tennis, classes 1-5 are for wheelchair users. Category 4 athletes have a fair sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands. It may be affected by a lower spinal cord lesion or cerebral palsy.

Patel started the sport 13 years ago with the Blind People’s Association in the Vastrapur area of ​​Ahmedabad, where she was a student of the ITI for People with Disabilities.

There she saw visually impaired children play table tennis and decided to take up the sport. She won her first medal in a competition representing the Rotary Club in Ahmedabad, where she settled after marrying Nikunj Patel, who played youth cricket for Gujarat.

She reached number two in the world rankings in 2011 after winning a silver medal for India at the PTT Thailand Table Tennis Championship. In October 2013 Patel again won silver in the women’s singles class 4 at the Asian Para table tennis championships in Beijing.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the country as they congratulated paddler Bhavinaben Patel on winning a historic silver medal, India’s first, in the ongoing Tokyo Paralympic Games on Sunday.

Patel was only the second Indian to win a medal at the Paralympics on Sunday after signing historic silver after a 3-0 loss to the world’s leading Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the final of women’s table tennis class 4.

“Bhavina Patel inspires the Indian contingent and sports enthusiasts who win silver at the #Paralympics. Your extraordinary determination and skill have brought India fame. I congratulate you on this exceptional achievement, ”tweeted President Kovind.

The 34-year-old Patel’s impressive run at the Games ended with a 7:11, 5:11, 6:11 loss to Zhou, a two-time gold medalist, in the women’s singles, which lasted 19 minutes.

With this medal, the Indian team opened its account at the games.

President, Prime Minister’s Leading Country, congratulating Bhavinaben Patel on winning the Paralympic silver medal

Prime Minister Modi said Patel’s performance was a motivation for the youth.

“The remarkable Bhavina Patel made history! She brings home a historic silver medal. Congratulations on that. Your life path is motivating and will also attract more youngsters to exercise. #Paralympics, “he tweeted.

Modi also spoke to Patel and congratulated her on the remarkable achievement. He also wished her the very best in her future endeavors.

Patel is from Sundhiya village in Vadnagar, Mehsana in Gujarat, and Modi told her that he was often in Sundhiya and asked if her family was still there.

Bhavina told him that her parents are still there.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi also wished Patel every success on the social networking site.

“Congratulations #BhavinaPatel on winning the silver medal at #ParaTableTennis. Your perseverance and your success will serve as a motivation for many,” wrote Sitharaman on her handle.

Rahul Gandhi added: “Congratulations to Bhavina Patel for winning the #silver. India commends your performance. You’ve made the nation proud. ”India’s first individual gold medalist Abhinav Bindra also hailed Patel’s“ mental resilience ”.

“Fantastic effort by @ BhavinaPatel6 to bag silver and open India’s account at the # Tokyo2020 @Paralympics. Wonderful demonstration of ability and mental resilience. Extremely proud! # Praise4Para “, he tweeted along with a letter.

Deepa Malik, the current president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), was the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic Games when she took silver in the shot put in Rio five years ago.

Malik congratulated Patel on her medal, saying: “It is absolutely breathtaking to see Bhavina’s performance, the way she played the competition absolutely stunned opponents.

“Her game, her skill, her patience, her comeback, the way she kept her focus is indescribable, it’s world class.

“This is the skill and serenity that made them silver at the Paralympics, and our silver girl made this gift to the nation on National Sports Day that is best at making history for any athlete.” Malik said Patel broke the taboos around disability.

“On a personal level, I think it’s passing on the baton. I’ve always wanted women’s participation to advance. Former cricketers Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble also congratulated the wheelchair paddler on her historic medal.

“Congratulations to #BhavinaPatel for making history by winning India’s first silver medal in women’s individual table tennis class 4 at the ongoing #TokyoParalympics. A wonderful demonstration of concentration, hard work and mental strength, ”wrote Sehwag.

Laxman tweeted, “Silver medal for India. Congratulations to #BhavinaPatel who made history by becoming the first Indian para-paddler to win a medal in the history of the #Paralympics.” Kumble added, “Congratulations #BhavinaPatel, proud of you.”