“Be who you are because that's you and you are beautiful” — and despite her shortcomings, the beauty that lies in Bhavina Patel’s talent is awesomely breath-taking. The Amdavadi special paddler who continued to dazzle at the tables with her stupendous skills on Monday looked every bit a stunner, with a silver around her neck at the end of a grilling performance at the 2013 ITTF PTT Asian Table Tennis regional championships held in Beijing on Monday. The wheelchair paddler was never short changed by her confidence or the indomitable spirit to conquer.
The Blind People Association’s special athlete, Bhavina became the first Indian to win a silver medal at an international event. “It is my first trip to Beijing and am thoroughly enjoying the limelight,” said Bhavina, who lost to top-seed Zhang Miao of China 6-11 9-11 2-11 in the final of the Women’s singles Class 4 Second Stage. “I’m happy I could come this far in my maiden appearance. I would have loved to win the gold, but I cannot complain. I lost to the top-seeded and a better player,” she conceded.
Earlier in the afternoon, the paddler had upset second-seeded Ji Nam Jun from Korea 3-1 (11-6 9-11 11-7 11-9) and Taipei’s Ya Chu Lee in straight games 11-2 11-8 11-6 in the quarterfinals.
In April, Bhavina and her compatriot Sonal Patel, had bagged silver medal at the 6th Al-Watani Para Table Tennis Championship in Jordan. The same dedication and determination prevailed when the duo made the country proud when they won a team gold in the Paralympics Table Tennis International Ranking Tournament held in Bangkok couple of months ago.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) had selected 16 players to represent India in this event after TTFI conducted selections trials at Indore last month. Of the 16, 5 players are from Gujarat. This was the first time that the TTFI was entrusted with the selection and sending of Para-Table Tennis team by SAI in consultation with the sports ministry.
In Class 5 Women’s singles, another top seed prevailed when China’s Zhang Bian defeated Jordan’s Khetma Abuaward to win the crown 3-1 (11-7, 13-15,11-5, 11-6). Like Bhavina, the Jordanian too was a surprise finalist in Class 5.