Tokyo: Assured of at least a Paralympic silver medal after reaching the table tennis finals here, India’s Bhavinaben Patel on Saturday said she doesn’t consider herself as disabled and her performance at the Tokyo Games proves that “nothing is impossible”.
Patel 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.
The 34-year-old from Gujarat stunned her world no. 3 Chinese opponent 7-11 11-7 11-4 9-11 11-8 in the semifinal showdown that lasted 34 minutes.
“…I don’t consider myself as disabled, I am always confident I can do anything and today I also proved that we are not behind and para table tennis is as ahead as other sports,” said Patel, who was diagnosed with polio when she was 12 months old.
“I fought against China and it is always said that it is difficult to win against China. Today I proved that nothing is impossible, you can do everything…”
This was Patel’s first victory against the former world number one Zhang. The two players had met 11 times before.
Patel, who plays in a wheelchair, will take on world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the summit clash on Sunday.
She said focussing on mental aspect of the game helped her during the match.
“My schedule used to start at 4 am and I used to focus more on my mind, through meditation and yoga I learnt to keep myself calm. During matches, sometimes we make mistakes in a hurry and we lose points but I could control my thoughts today,” she said.
“I want to thank the coaches, who taught me tricks and technique because of them I have been able to reach here.”
Patel also acknowledged the support that she received from different quarters.
“When a player doesn’t get financial support, it becomes difficult to move ahead in sport because the expenses of playing tournaments are so huge and it is difficult to afford for a middle class family but SAI, TOPS, PCI, government, OGQ, Blind People’s Association, my family, all have supported me.”
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