Tokyo Paralympic Games silver medalist Bhavina Patel receives warm welcome at Ahmedabad airport

Bombay: Indian Paralympic athlete and table tennis player Bhavina Patel made history after winning a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in her first Paralympic Games.

The 34-year-old became the only second Indian athlete to make the mark after her match against Chinese world table tennis champion and double gold medalist Ying Zhou. Patel lost to Zhou 0-3 ((7-11, 5-11, 6-11) in the Women’s Singles Category 4 final, ending her impressive run at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

“I gave 100% in the final. Although I couldn’t win the gold, I’m happy with my overall performance.” Bhavina said after the game.

Patel also lost to the Chinese paddler in her first match of the group stage, but that did not take away from her as she won the next four matches against her opponents and advanced to the final.

“She may be ‘Divyang’ (different disabled), but to us, she never seemed to be. For us, she is ‘Divya’ (divine). We are very happy that she brought one silver medal for our country, said Bhavina Patel’s father Hasmukh Patel.

Taking pride in her family and nation, Bhavina returned home with cash where her family and friends celebrated her victory with traditional Garba dance and firecrackers in Mehsana district of Gujarat.

Bhavina was diagnosed with polio when she was 12 months old and with years of determination she focused on her game and won her first Asian Championship silver medal in 2013 and since then she hasn’t never stopped. Bhavina competed in 28 international tournaments ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Bhavina returned to India and was warmly greeted at Ahmedabad Airport by family, friends and fans. India in total won 19 medals, including five gold, eight silver and six bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and finished 24th out of 162 nations, making it the best medal total for the ‘India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated and hosted a breakfast for the para-athletes on their return from Tokyo. This is India’s best performance at the Paralympic Olympics.

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Posted on: Friday September 10th, 2021 11:24 PM IST

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