Tokyo Paralympics: The "Meditate, Motivate, Medal" formula of Bhavina Patel
Table tennis star Bhavina Patel has all the ingredients that is necessary to craft a Paralympic champion as she confirms a silver medal on her debut outing.
The key thing that defines and sets apart world-class athletes from the rest of the herd is the winning mindset and possessing nerves of steel. Even more than the physical adeptness, what is of primary importance and what makes the major difference is the possession of a winning mentality that is fit for champions.
At the Tokyo Paralympics, Gujarat's Bhavina Hasmukhbhai Patel has been racking up one stunning win after the other - downing former Paralympic medallists and the very best's of the game with a quiet yet confident stride.
Waiving past the reigning Paralympic champion, Serbian World No. 2 Peric Borislava Rankovic in the quarters with a straight games victory in just 18 minutes, Bhavinaben continued her stellar run in the semi-finals against China's Miao Zhang, the World No. 3 as well.
Appearing in her first Paralympic Games, Bhavina has looked unfazed for most of the competition and the 34-year-old has not displayed signs of nerves much in her tight matches.
Especially in the semi-finals against the silver medallist from Rio, there were pressure moments galore but not for once did Bhavina cave into that pressure or let the psychological torment of facing an opponent she has lost to 11 times get to her.
Essaying a beautiful victory in 34 minutes, Bhavina has now confirmed a silver medal at least for India at the Paralympics - the very first by an Indian paddler across both the Olympic as well as the Paralympic Games. Achieving this stupendous feat, Bhavina displayed sheer class and oozed greatness to win the match, 3-2.
During the crucial mid-game breaks and time-outs, Bhavina was seen wheeling off to the sidelines during her Women's Singles Wheelchair Class 4 semi-finals encounter and quietly meditating - closed eyes, folded hands, simply breathing in and breathing out.
Ode to the mental game - Bhavina Patel shows her champion spirit
In the greatest of competitions, athletes with a superior mental edge tend to get away with the top honours than athletes who succumb to the pressure.
Just like Novak Djokovic, in tennis, possesses nerves of steel and is an impossible opponent to defeat in Grand Slam finals - as he erects an unbreachable mental fortress for his opponents to knock down, Bhavina Patel also seemed to have taken cues from such practice.
Not looking flustered at any point and making easy errors, Bhavina's game at the Tokyo Paralympics has been largely formulaic and highly strategic.
Behind her shots, there is research and knowledge of the opponent's game and there is no look of surprise on her face as she makes difficult angles and forces her opponent to commit errors. Bhavina, a former World No. 2 and a medallist at the 2018 Asian Para Games has every ingredient in her that is necessary to craft a Paralympic champion.
Taking down players of this level is no mean task but Bhavina makes it look easy - quietly collecting herself in pressure points and attacking stealthily to storm into the finals and contest for an epic gold medal in her debut outing at the Paralympic Games.