Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Paddler Bhavina Patel Enters Table Tennis Quarterfinals

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Bhavina Patel in quarterfinals: India’s Bhavina Patel defeated Joyce de Oliveira of Brazil in a thrilling match to reach the quarterfinals of women’s singles table tennis Class 4 category at the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday. The seasoned paddler fought hard  and eventually won the game 3-0 (12-10, 13-11, 11-6).

Earlier, the 34-year-old Indian (ranked 12) progressed to the knockout stages of women’s singles table tennis Class 4 on Thursday by defeating Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton in a Group A match 3-1. Now, she will face off defending champion Rankovic Peric of Serbia in the quarterfinals later in the day.

Currently India’s No 2, Patel, who plays table tennis in wheelchair, has won several gold and silver medals in national and international competitions. She comes from a village Sundhiya in Mahesana district of Gujarat. She started her career as a 17-year-old and today, she is an Eklavya awardee para table tennis player. She reached the ranking of World Number 2 in 2011 when she won the silver for India at The Individual Category of PTT Thailand Table Tennis Championship.

In 2013 she won the silver medal in the women’s singles Class 4 at the Asian Para table tennis championships, Beijing. Patel had to endure financial crisis in her struggling days and that’s when Ahmedabad-based organisation Blind People’s Association (BPA) came to her rescue as they extended support to the para-athlete. The Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) also included Patel in their scheme of providing financial support to youth athletes in 2020, according to a report by the Times Of India. Read more on her here.

Patel, who has never let disability define her life on or off-court, won the Bronze Medal in International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Asian Para Table Tennis Championship in 2017 in Beijing, China. She has represented India in as many as 15 international tournaments so far and brought home ten medals. Patel’s coach is Lalan Doshi and she is also trained by team official Tejalben Lakhia.

India has sent its biggest contingent ever, of 54 para-athletes, to the Tokyo Paralympics this year.