Bhavina Patel’s magical run in the Tokyo 2020 Paralaympic Games ended with a silver medal as she lost to world No. 1 Zhou Ying of China in straight games in the final of the women’s table tennis Class 4 on Sunday.
Bhavina thus won India’s first medal at Tokyo 2020 and 13th overall.
Bhavina, ranked 12th in the world who had made an incredible run to the final by beating the gold and silver medallist of the Rio Paralympics, found Zhou, winner at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, too strong to handle and lost 3-0 (7-11, 5-11, 6-11) in a 19-minute encounter in women’s singles Class 4.
After the historic silver, India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav Bindra penned an emotional letter to Bhavina Patel.
“Many congratulations in delivering outstanding performance to win a Silver medal, and becoming India’s first medalist at Tokyo Olympics 2020. The whole nation is extremely proud of you overcoming all challenges and coming up with a spirited show in Tokyo,” Bindra wrote in his letter to Bhavina.
“Despite losing your first match, the spirit and attitude with which you fought for every point in the next three matches, and defeated higher-ranked opponents was extremely pleasing to witness – both as a fan and as an athlete. Your performance exemplified the redeeming quality of sport, while also serving as a perfect advertisement for the powers of mental resilience and unwavering belief.
“Your journey to attaining sporting excellence is an inspiration to all of us, and is also a very important reminder of the rewards of working hard and following your passion without dwelling over things that one has no control over,” he added.
The 34-year-old Bhavina, who lost to the best player in the world and one who is far more experienced and superior to her, became the first Indian table tennis player to win a medal at the Paralympics.
She also became only the second Indian female athlete to win a medal in the Paralympics after Deepa Malik, who bagged a silver in shot put F43 in 2016.