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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Tokyo Paralympics: When Bhavina Patel asked for help from Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan

Seeking help and intervention, Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Bhavina Patel had reached out to Bollywood celebs Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan.

Akshay Kumar, Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Bhavina Patel and Aamir Khan (Left to Right)
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Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Bhavina Patel had asked for help from Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan
By

Sohinee Basu

Updated: 29 Aug 2021 8:37 AM GMT

Would it be surprising to know that Bhavina Patel, the para table tennis superstar who just became the first female silver medallist at the Paralympic Games from India could have had a head start five years ago itself at Rio 2016? Scripting her very own Cinderella story at the Tokyo Paralympics,

Bhavina Patel created history for the nation as well as Indian table tennis by becoming the first paddler to win a medal - of any hue - at the stage of either an Olympic or a Paralympic Games. But to think that this victory, this honour could have been had and savoured nearly half a decade ago is something that inevitably makes one bite their hand.

A former World No. 2 player, Bhavina Patel, who participates in the Women's Wheelchair Class 4 events has been familiar with success and has as many as 27 international medals, including the glistening Paralympic silver to her name now.

In Rio 2016, Gujarat's Bhavina, in fine form, had made the cut for Rio and booked herself a spot and was gearing up to set sail for the South American city before complications came calling. Federation issues boiled up and Bhavina's flight to Rio never took off and she missed out on making her debut at the prestigious quadrennial event.

In 2018 as well, a similar issue recurred just after she qualified for the World Championships. In a desperate attempt then, the silver medallist from Tokyo, had reached out to Bollywood superstars and philanthropists Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan to look into her matter and help her out of the dire situation as she took to Twitter to voice her concerns.

The 34-year-old paddler's journey hasn't been smooth as she has had to overcome a lot of battles to reach where she is today. She has gotten by with a lot of support from a very enthusiastic family, the timely intervention of the government and her coach, Lalan Doshi of the Blind People's Association in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to climb to such glory.

Bhavina Patel at the medal ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics

The wheelchair user however has shown to everyone what true talent can lead to as she, with her mental grit and sheer passion conjured stunning performances that led her to be the only Indian paddler to defeat a Chinese at either the Olympics or the Paralympics stage and became the lone Indian amidst a set of all-Chinese medallists too in her category!


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