Tokyo Paralympics: Bhavina Patel takes over the baton from Deepa Malik

Bhavina Patel after winning the silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 2021.
Bhavina Patel after winning the silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 2021.

Bhavina Patel scripted history at the Tokyo Paralympics 2021 when she won a historic silver medal in the women’s singles table tennis class 4 event at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.

Bhavina Patel, ranked 12 in the world, went down 0-3 (7-11, 7-11, 6-11) to World No. 1 Zhou Ying in a lopsided final, that lasted just 19 minutes.

Incidentally, Bhavina Patel had lost her opening match of the Tokyo Paralympics 2021 to Zhou Ying in the league stage.

Bhavina Patel entered the final on the back of some stellar performances in the quarter and the semifinals. She had gotten the better of 2016 Rio Paralympics gold winner and World No. 2 Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia and World No. 3 Miao Zhang of China respectively.

Also Read: Rejected for a job due to her disability, para-paddler Bhavina Patel has etched her name in Paralympics history

However, her bad run against Zhou Ying continued after losing for the eighth time to the Chinese player.

Bhavina Patel's feat is stunning, says Deepa Malik

India’s Paralympic Committee of India chief Deepa Malik, who was in attendance at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, was elated on Bhavina Patel’s performance and termed it a stunning one.

In a video message, Deepa Malik said Bhavina Patel’s grit and perseverance were something to watch out for. She said:

“It is absolutely stunning to see Bhavina Patel's performance. The way she has played in the competition has stunned the opponents. Bhavina Patel’s game, her patience, her skill and her coming back into the matches and the way she has kept her focus is beyond words. It is a world-class performance. It is this skill and calmness that has made her win silver.”

That the silver medal feat has come on India’s National Sports Day, makes it extra special. The day is celebrated on August 29 to mark the occasion of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand’s birthday. Deepa Malik said the silver medal is an apt gift for the nation. Deepa Malik added:

“Our silver girl winning a silver medal and giving a gift to nation on National Sports Day is an apt day to create history for any sportsperson. We are very happy and on behalf of PCI, we congratulate her.”

Deepa Malik said Bhavina Patel’s silver medal was a case of passing on the baton to the next generation of para-athletes. She said:

“Personally, the feat is passing on the baton. I wanted to see women come forward and participate, and that too in a wheelchair, to make (win) more medals for the country so that we can create inclusivity and shatter stereotypes around disability. And, Bhavina Patel has just done that.”

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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