News has just come in that Bhavinaben Patel became the second Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics on Sunday. She won a historic silver medal losing to the world’s number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou. The game was women’s singles table tennis class 4 finals.
Zhou is a two-time gold medallist in this sport. But Patel tried her level best in this game. The 34-year-old Patel’s impressive run at the games ended with her fighting with 7-11, 5-11, and 6-11 loss to Zhou. This fierce women’s singles summit clash lasted up to 19 minutes. With this medal in hand, India opened its account at the Games.
The current president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) is Deepa Malik. She was the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal. Five years ago at Rio, she had claimed silver in shotput. In her first group stage match earlier in the week, Patel, who is a wheelchair player, suffered a loss to Zhou. Zhou is one of the most decorated para paddlers of China.
Zhou had won five Paralympic medals to date including gold medals in singles at Beijing and London. When Patel faced her, she was very nervous to face such an opponent. She struggled a lot as she could not execute her strategy and was left to do the catch-up job.
Zhou is a six-time World Championship medalist and Patel is currently ranked 12th in her division. She did not give Patel a single chance to find her angled returns and get into a rally. Now comes the part which describes how the game progressed.
In the first game, both the players were head to head. Zhou broke off from 3-3 to move ahead. Patel used all her strategies to keep herself within touching distance. She gave a superb service at 5-7 and also a forehead flick but the Chinese was smarter than her. She managed to earn the bragging right with a deep push at the baseline. The second game was much less complicated. Zhou had a lead right from the beginning with 7-1 scores. Patel narrowed it down to 4-7 but the Chinese was fast enough to grab a lead of 2-0.
Pushed to the edge with no other option in hand, Patel tried to make a recovery by moving neck to neck with her Chinese opponent. She even had a score of 5-5. But the game was not hers to win. Zhou once again moved ahead in the game with a backhand shot and sealed the contest along with her victory.
Although she brought home the silver medal, she had other victories to look at. She reached the world’s number two ranking in 2011 by winning silver in PTT Thailand Table Tennis Championship. In October 2013, Patel won another silver in Beijing.