Mumbai: India's Paralympic athlete and table tennis player Bhavina Patel created history after winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 in her maiden Paralympics Games.
The 34-year-old became the only second Indian female athlete to make this mark after her match against World No. 1 Chinese table tennis champion and two-time gold medallist Ying Zhou. Patel lost to Zhou 0-3 ((7-11, 5-11, 6-11) in the women's singles class 4 category finals ending her impressive Tokyo Paralympics journey.
"I gave 100% in the final. Though I could not win the gold, I am satisfied with my overall performance." Bhavina said after the match.
Patel had also lost to the Chinese paddler in her first group stage match however that did not subordinate her as she went on to win the next four games against her opponents and made it to the finals.
"She may be 'Divyang' (differently-abled), but to us, she never appeared to be so. For us, she is 'Divya' (divine). We are very happy that she has brought a silver medal for our country, Bhavina Patel's father Hasmukh Patel said.
Making her family and her nation proud, Bhavina returned home with silver where her family and friends celebrated her winning with traditional Garba dance and firecrackers in Gujarat's Mehsana district.
Bhavina was diagnosed with polio when she was 12-months young and with years of determination she focused on her game and won her first silver at the Asian Championship in 2013 and since then she has never stopped. Bhavina has competed in 28 international tournaments before the Tokyo Paralympics 2020.
Bhavina returned to India and received a grand welcome at the Ahmedabad airport from her family, friends, and fans. India in total has won 19 medals, including five gold, eight silver, and six bronze in the Tokyo Paralympics 2020, and finished 24th among 162 nations making it the best medal tally for India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated and hosted a breakfast for the para-athletes upon their return from Tokyo. This marks India's best-ever performance in Paralympics Olympic Games.
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