Table Tennis player Bhavinaben Patel scripts history, storms into Paralympics final

 Bhavinaben Ptel made history by becoming the first Indian woman to reach the final of a Paralympics table tennis event. She defeated Miao Zhang from China in a tough 3-2 victory here in class 4.



Patel, 34, had stunned the world with her spectacular show. She had shocked even the Indian camp at this Paralympics. In the 34-minute semifinal showdown, Patel defeated her Chinese opponent 7-11 11-7 9-4 9-11 11-8

In Sunday's summit clash, she will face Ying Zhou, the world number one Chinese paddler.

She is the daughter of Hasmukhbhai, a small-time shopkeeper in Sundhiya village, Gujarat's Mehsana region. Although she wasn't considered a strong medal prospect going into the Games, she made her maiden Paralympics an unforgettable one.

"When I arrived here, I thought I would give 100 per cent. Patel, who was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with Polio, stated that if you give 100 percent, the medal will be given.

"If I keep this confidence and the blessings from my countrymen, I believe I will win gold tomorrow." I'm ready to go for the final, and I must give my 100 percent in the final.

Patel, who is in a wheelchair played the first game. It was a close contest. She made a strong recovery and won the next two games with a 2-1 advantage.

Patel showed great poise as she took only four minutes to complete the third game.

Zhang displayed her class in the fourth game and did not give Patel any bragging rights as the match entered the final.

Patel raced to a 5-0 lead in the fifth set. The Chinese came back strong, however. Zhang won three consecutive points, making it 8-9 after trailing 5-9.

Patel, in an effort to regroup herself, took a time out. After that, there was no stopping her. With two match points, Patel won the victory, furthering her purple streak.

This was Patel’s first win against Zhang, the former world number 1. They had previously met eleven times.

Zhou will be a formidable opponent for Patel in the gold-medal match. In her first group match, she lost to Zhou (3-11 9-11 2-11 2-11) but was able to hold her own against the Chinese player.

To win a medal and script record, Patel defeated Borislava Peric Rankovic (Serbia), in Friday's quarterfinal.

The Class 4 category athletes have a good sitting balance, fully functional arms and hands, and a fair sitting posture. They may have cerebral palsy or a lower spinal-cord injury.

Patel began playing the sport at the Blind People's Association in Vastrapur, Ahmedabad 13 years ago. She was also a student at ITI for persons with disabilities.

She saw visually impaired children playing table-tennis and decided to try it. After marrying Nikunj Patel who played junior cricket for Gujarat, she won her first medal at a competition representing Rotary Club Ahmedabad.

After winning the silver medal for India at the PTT Thailand Table Tennis Championship, Patel reached world number 2 in 2011. Patel also won another silver at the Asian Para Table Tennis Championships in Beijing in October 2013.

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