Paddler Bhavinaben advances to round of 16, Sonalben out

The 34-year-old Bhavinaben dispatched Shackleton, the world no. 9, 11-7 9-11 17-15 13-11 in a contest that lasted 41 minutes.

FILE PHOTO: Patel (centre) has three points from two games and moves to the knockout round along with table leader Ying.   -  THE HINDU

Indian paddler Bhavinaben Patel progressed to the Round of 16 in the women's singles Class 4 table tennis event with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Great Britain's Megan Shackleton at the Tokyo Paralympics here on Thursday.

The 34-year-old Indian dispatched Shackleton, the world no. 9, 11-7 9-11 17-15 13-11 in a contest that lasted 41 minutes.

The other Indian in the fray, Sonalben Manubhai Patel, however, ended her campaign after losing 12-10 5-11 3-11 9-11 to MG Lee of Korea in her second women's singles Class 3 group match. She had lost her first group match on Wednesday.

Players in the Class 3 category have no trunk control, yet their arms are minimally affected by the impairment.

Earlier in the morning, competing in a do-or-die match, the world no. 12 Bhavinaben started on a dominant note, clinching the first game in just eight minutes but Shackleton made a strong recovery to take the second.

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With the fixture poised at 1-1, the two paddlers fought toe-to-toe in the next two games with the Indian coming on top at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

This was Bhavinaben first win in the tournament as she was blanked 0-3 by world number one Chinese paddler Zhou Ying in the opening round on Wednesday.

Patel has three points from two games and moves to the knockout round along with table leader Ying.

Athletes in the 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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