Tokyo Paralympics: Bhavina Patel becomes first Indian para-paddler to win silver

Bhavina Patel

Tokyo: Indian paddler Bhavinaben Patel made history by being the first Indian para-paddler to win silver in her maiden Paralympic Games after going down 0-3 to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the women’s singles class 4 final on Sunday.

Bhavina’s incredible performance at the Games came to an end with a 7-11, 5-11, 6-11 loss to Zhou, a two-time gold medalist, in a 19-minute women’s singles summit duel.

Earlier in the week, the Indian athlete had lost to Chinese Zhou in her first group stage encounter. Bhavina struggled to execute her approach against an opponent who had five Paralympic medals to her name, including gold medals in singles in Beijing and London. She was diagnosed with polio at the age of twelve months, had defeated world no. 3 in Saturday’s semifinal. Indian athlete outplayed Miao Zhang of China 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8.

Bhavina had defeated Serbia’s Borislava Peric Rankovic, the 2016 Rio Paralympics gold medalist and world number two, in the quarterfinals on Friday to secure a medal and make history. Netizens praised her for her outstanding performance at the Paralympics. They also wished her luck in all of her upcoming competitions. Bhavina also achieved a new feat with this victory, as India won its first-ever table tennis medal at the Paralympics.

Through the microblogging site Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind have congratulated Bhavina Patel on her historic silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.