Paddler Bhavinaben Patel earned a hard-fought victory against Great Britain’s Megan Shackleton with the final score being 3-1. She progresses to the Round of 16 in the women’s singles Class 4 table tennis event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Thursday.
This match was do-or-die for her. The world no. 12 started the match on a dominant note, winning the first game in eight minutes but Shackleton made a great recovery to take the second game. The two were even at 1-1 but the Indian came through in the end, as both of the players fought toe to toe at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The final score was 11-7 9-11 17-15 13-11 in the favor of the Indian player.
This was the 34-year-old paddler’s first win in the Olympics. In her earlier match, she was thumped by Chinese paddler Zhou Ying 0-3 in the first round of the Games on Wednesday. Patel has qualified for the Round of 16, along with the leader Ying but unfortunately, the world no. 9 Shackleton was eliminated from the competition.
Athletes in the class 4 category are individuals who have perfect sitting balance and also have fully functional arms and hands. They have disabilities due to lower spinal cord lesions or cerebral palsy which forces them to move with the help of a wheelchair. Sonalben Manubai Patel, who also lost her first match to China’s Quan Li in a close match will also play her second group game today and will hope that she too can qualify for the knockout rounds, like her counterpart earlier today.