Paddler Bhavina Patel set the tone for an eventful day with the historic silver for India at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Sunday. There was more good news from the track and field events with Vindo Kumar and Nishad Kumar also making it to the podium.
Bhavina on Friday had assured herself and India of the first medal from the ongoing Paralympics by making it to the semi-finals. She progressed to the title clash on Saturday, but was stopped in the final by the World No. 1 Chinese opponent Ying Zhou in straight games.
Bhavina became the first Indian paddler to win a Paralympic medal. Later in the day Nishad and Vinod registered their personal best scores, signing off with the silver and bronze respectively.
Vinod hurled the discus to 19.91 metres, which turned out to be the third best in the competiton. High jumper Nishad cleared the 2.06-metre mark and clinched the silver. The 21-year-old’s 2.06m successful attempt was a new Asian record. US athlete Dallas Wise was also awarded a silver as he and Nishad scaled an identical 2.06m. Roderick Townsend, also from the USA, won the gold with a world record jump of 2.15m. India’s Ram Pal finished fifth for his best jump of 1.94m.
T47 class is meant for athletes with a unilateral upper limb impairment resulting in some loss of function at the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Hailing from Una in Himachal Preadeh, Nishad had lost his right hand in an accident when he was just eight year old. He had tested positive for Covid-19 infection during his training at the at the Sports Authority of India Centre in Bengaluru, states a report by The Telegraph.
Vinod clinched a bronze – India’s third medal for the day – in the men’s F52 event with an Asian record. The 41-year-old BSF man produced a best throw of 19.91m to finish third behind Piotr Kosewicz (20.02m) of Poland and Velimir Sandor (19.98m) of Croatia.
He injured his legs while training after joining the BSF, falling off a cliff in Leh that left him bed-ridden for close to a decade.
Bhavina became only the second Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics after she signed off with a historic silver following a 0-3 loss to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the women’s singles table tennis class 4 final. The 34-year-old’s impressive run at the Games ended with a fighting 7-11 5-11 6-11 loss to Zhou, a two-time gold medallist, in the women’s singles summit clash which lasted 19 minutes. With this medal, Indian team opened its account at the Games.
Deepa Malik, the Paralympic Committee of India president, was the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic Games –a silver in shotput at Rio five years back.
“I’m extremely delighted to win a medal but also a bit disappointed as well. I got a bit nervous,” International Paralympic Committee has quoted Bhavina as saying.
“I can only assure you that next time I meet her you will see a different me. She clearly got the better of me and had all the shots in her book to outsmart by effort. However, this medal will go a long way and I can assure you that,” she said.
Bhavina had missed out of the Rio Olympics five years back due to some issues with her documents but now that she has claimed a medal, she feels it was a blessing in disguise.