Bhavina Patel Paralympian made history for India picking a silver medal in table Tennis at the Tokyo Paralympics. The young girl from Mehsana in Gujarat starting playing at the age of 17 and since then hasn’t looked back from her Olympic goal.
Patel, who picked up the sport for fun, plays in her wheelchair. Today, the player who hails from Ahmedabad is considered a formidable force in wheelchair table tennis. She has won many national and international medals and made the country proud. She ranked World Number 2 after she won a Silver Medal for India in The Individual Category at the PTT Thailand Table Tennis Championship in 2011.
In October 2013, at the Asian Para table tennis championships in Beijing, Patel won the silver medal in the women’s singles Class 4.
The 34-year-old Indian player Bhavinaben Patel is currently the world no 12 player and the first Indian paddler to reach the finals of Paralympics. She her patience does the trick. “I want to do better in the coming matches. Today, I tried to remain patient and continued to focus on the ball, did not let myself to be distracted by any negative thoughts,” Patel said after winning the match against Shackleton.
Her Big Wins
Bhavina won the bronze medal in International Table Tennis Federation Asian Para Table Tennis Championship that was organised in 2017 in Beijing again. She is an athlete in the Class 4 category. These players have fair sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands. Their impairment may be due to a lower spinal cord lesion or cerebral palsy.
She is coached by Lalan Doshi and is also guided by team official Tejalben Lakhia.
It is a challenge to overcome the cultural stigmas associated with disability in our country. Only when we have a change in this mentality can we expect more and more differently-abled players to come and represent Indians on the world stage. Otherwise, it is difficult for a differently-abled player to remain focused and play at an international level.
India won its first Paralympic medal at the games played in Heidelberg in 1972. Murlikant Petkar won gold for the country in the men’s 50m freestyle swimming. In the 2016 Paralympics India won four medals.