Bhavinaben Patel will be one of the few athletes with a paralympic medal in table tennis at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The 35-year-old paddler created history when she became only the second-ever Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games by bagging the silver in Tokyo last year.
However, Bhavina does not think that being a paralympic medallist will bring any added pressure when she competes at the quadrennial event which will be held between July 28 and August 8.
“I did feel the pressure a few days ago but then I talked to my husband (Nikunj Patel). I told him that people have a lot of expectations from me and they are saying, ‘ Aap toh medal pakka leke hi aaoge’ (you will definitely bring a medal) and he replied, “We weren’t doing it for the medal before and even now, we won’t be doing it for the medal,” said Bhavina during a virtual media interaction organised by SAI on Friday.
Bhavina, who was diagnosed with polio at the age of one, enters the Commonwealth Games after a season in which she has won gold medals at events in Egypt and Jordan apart from the national title but she says that she is yet to achieve her goal for this year.
“I want to play more tournaments because my current ranking is eighth and my aim is to reach fifth. My goal for this year has not been achieved even though I have gained ranking points,” said the paddler from Sundhiya village in Gujarat.
Bhavina will compete at the Commonwealth Games after 12 years. She featured in her first CWG at the 2010 edition in Delhi. The 2014 Games in Glasgow did not include para table tennis while the 2018 Games in Gold Coast had the competition for Class 6-10 categories.
Bhavina, who competes in the Class 4 category, nearly missed a semifinal spot in Delhi. This time though, she knows her competition and is well-prepared. “ Ek hisaab mujhe chukta karna hai (I have to settle a score). At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, I had lost a very close deciding match (group stage) to a Nigerian girl of Class 5 category. Elsewhere, my competitors are Great Britain and Australia. I am mentally prepared to face them as I have studied their game,” she said.
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