India’s Bhavina Patel reaches final of table tennis event, gold medal match on Sunday
India’s Bhavina Patel defeated China’s Zhang Miao 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 in a closely-contested match to storm into the gold medal match in the table tennis event. Bhavina will take on China’s Ying Zhou in the gold medal match on Sunday.
Bhavinaben Patel continued to script history as she became the first Indian to enter the final of a table tennis event in the Paralympics with a hard-fought 3-2 win over China's Miao Zhang in a class 4 semifinal here on Saturday. Bhavina rallied from a game down to beat Zhang Miao 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 to make it into the final.
Earlier, the 34-year-old has defeated world number 5 Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 in straight games in the semi-finals. In the round of 16, Bhavina got the better of Joyce de Oliveira of Brazil 12-10 13-11, 11-6 to become the first Indian table tennis player to reach the quarterfinals in the Paralympics.
Daughter of Hasmukhbhai Patel, a small-time shopkeeper at Sundhiya village in Gujarat's Mehsana district, she was not considered a bright medal prospect coming into the Games but she has made her maiden Paralympics a memorable one.
"When I came here, I just thought that I would give my 100 percent without thinking of anything. If you give 100 percent, the medal will come, that was what I thought," said Patel, who was diagnosed with polio when she was a 12-year-old. "If I continue with this confidence with the blessings of the people of my country, I think I will win gold tomorrow. I am ready for the final and I have to give 100 percent in the final also."
Athletes in the Class 4 category have fair sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands. Their impairment may be due to a lower spinal cord lesion or cerebral palsy. Bhavina will take on China’s Ying Zhou in the gold medal match on Sunday.