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"Focus not on medals but giving best at Commonwealth Games," says para paddler Bhavina Patel
"We are not fighting for medals here. That's for the later part. But first, we have to put full focus on giving our best," Bhavina said.
Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Bhavinaben Patel is carrying utmost mental strength and inspirational spirit with her at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. This is the first time Para Table Tennis has been introduced at the CWG.
The silver medal in Tokyo, which she bagged in the Class 4 Para category, has definitely raised the expectations of millions from her, but is she pressurised?
"Everyone is having expectations from me post the Tokyo success. It was getting a little nervy for me until I spoke with my husband Nikul Patel about it," mentioned Bhavina at a press conference facilitated by the SAI on Friday.
"He told me that we are going to give our best, no matter what. We are not fighting for medals here. That's for the later part. But first, we have to put full focus on giving our best. I believe that when you do anything passionately, you have to do hard work. Consistency can give you the results as well as giving 100% in training. Everything is possible. You shouldn't feel pressure," Bhavina added.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, has continuously supported Bhavina towards the procurement of sports equipment, like table tennis balls and rubbers, as well as financial assistance towards participation in international tournaments like Egypt Open 2022, Al Watani Open 2022. The TOPS support has also been extended towards the hiring of expert services for her in the form of physiotherapist, psychologist and dietitian.
Highlighting the support, Bhavina mentioned, "The Sports Authority also gave me a robot (Butterfly - Amicus Prime), which has helped with my chop shots and it is helping me get a lot of variation in my game. It is helping my training a lot. All in all, I'm getting a lot of support system from every quarter, from the Government, SAI, Paralympic Committee of India, the Table Tennis Federation of India as well as the NGOs supporting me."
"Post Tokyo, I've see huge changes in Paralympics policy by the Government. All schemes are similar now for all sports. There has been an infrastructural development as well as academies being created. There is a greater awareness now. I am personally grateful to be inspirational to some. My training centre in Gujarat gets lot of calls every day from enthusiasts who say that they want to be like Bhavina. They think if Bhavina can do it, we all can. It's a big thing for me to be inspirational for some and I want to inspire more. I want more athletes to come to the fore. I want India to be first everywhere. I don't want to walk alone with success. I want to take everyone with me," Bhavina added.