Bhavinaben Patel continues scripting history, storms into TT final

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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 on Saturday. The 34-year-old Patel, who had surprised even the Indian camp in this Paralympics with her sensational show, 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.

Daughter of Hasmukhbhai Patel, a shopkeeper at Sundhiya village i n 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 per cent without thinking of anything. If you give 100 per cent, 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 per cent in the final also.”

This was Patel’s first victory against the former world N o . 1 Zhang. The two players had met 11 times before. She will take on world No. 1 Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the summit clash on Sunday. She had gone down tamely (3- 11 9-11 2-11) to the Chinese player in her opening group match on Wednesday. Athletes in 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

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