On Sunday, hailing from Sundhiya village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, 34-year-old Bhavina Patel won India its first medal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games. She claimed a silver medal in the women’s individual Class 4 Table Tennis after losing the final to World No. 1 Zhou Ying by 7-11, 7-11, 6-11.
Bhavina Patel, ranked World No.12, had beaten world no. 3 Miao Zhang of China 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, and 11-8 in the semifinal on Saturday to confirm India’s first medal in Table Tennis. In the quarterfinal on Friday, she had defeated 2016 Rio Paralympics gold winner and world number 2 Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia to advance further closer to a medal.
She is now only the second women para-athlete to grab a medal after Deepa Malik who won silver at the Women’s Shot Put F53 in Rio 2016. India now have five silver medals at the Paralympic Games.
Bhavina Patel won her first national title in Para Table Tennis Nationals in Bangalore in 2007; she hasn’t looked back since tasting her first success – the journey now making her a household name.
Born in 1986. Bhavina Patel got infected by poliomyelitis when she was 12 months old. Coming from a middle-class background, in a family of five, her father could not get her treated when she was young. She moved to Ahmedabad to pursue an ITI computer science course, and there she would take up table tennis as her passion. The rest is history.
Nikul Patel, her husband, a state-level under-19 cricketer, supported her immensely through thick and thin.
The Gujarat government, soon after her victory, announced a ₹3 crore reward for Bhavina Patel for her historic triumph.
“Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has congratulated Bhavina Patel, daughter of Mehsana district of Gujarat, for making the country proud by her outstanding achievements in table tennis at the Paralympic Games,” the Chief Minister’s Office said in a note.
Indian cricketers and cricket fraternity also celebrated the momentous occasion. Leading the line was legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Twitter Celebrates Bhavina Patel’s Silver Medal In Table Tennis At Tokyo Paralympic Games:
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) August 29, 2021
Extending warm wishes to everyone and remembering Major Dhyan Chand Ji on the occasion of #NationalSportsDay.
— Ishant Sharma (@ImIshant) August 29, 2021
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 29, 2021
— Pragyan Ojha (@pragyanojha) August 29, 2021
— DK (@DineshKarthik) August 29, 2021
Bhavina Patel you have shown that where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Very inspired by your performance and wishing you all the best for the next game.
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) August 28, 2021
Congratulations #BhavinaPatel Proud of you. 👏👏
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) August 29, 2021
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) August 29, 2021
Congratulations to #BhavinaPatel for creating history by winning India's first silver medal in women's singles class 4 table tennis event at the ongoing #TokyoParalympics .
A wonderful display of focus , hardwork and mental strength. pic.twitter.com/Ijh9LmfBTo
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 29, 2021
An incredible achievement for Indian Lady by claiming Medal in #TokyoParalympics
— Munaf Patel (@munafpa99881129) August 29, 2021
🥈 for 🇮🇳
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) August 29, 2021
— ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ | Dodda Ganesh (@doddaganesha) August 29, 2021
#BhavinaPatel 🏓 🥈 🇮🇳 is proud of you ❤️
— Shreevats goswami (@shreevats1) August 29, 2021
Congratulations to bhavina patel for winning silver …it's been a successful journey for Olympics and paraolympics participants this year ..great news for indian sport … pic.twitter.com/UBLf84zu3t
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) August 29, 2021
Acing down the silver line!🥈
— Chennai Super Kings – Mask P😷du Whistle P🥳du! (@ChennaiIPL) August 29, 2021