Assured of a gold or silver medal after reaching the finals at the Tokyo Paralympics, Indian paddler Bhavina Patel on Saturday said she proved that nothing is impossible by beating higher ranked Chinese opponent.

Patel became the first Indian to enter the final of a table tennis event in the Paralympics with a hard-fought 3-2 win over China’s Miao Zhang in the women’s class 4 semifinal on Saturday.

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The 34-year-old from Gujarat stunned the world No 3 Chinese opponent 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 in the semifinal showdown that lasted 34 minutes. This was Patel’s first victory against the former world No 1 Zhang. The two players had met 11 times before.

“...I don’t consider myself as disabled, I am always confident I can do anything and today I also proved that we are not behind and para table tennis is as ahead as other sports,” said Patel, who was diagnosed with polio when she was a 12 months old.

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“I fought against China today and it is always said that it is difficult to win against China. Today I proved that nothing is impossible, you can do everything if you want to”

Patel, who plays in a wheelchair, will take on world No 1 Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the summit clash on Sunday.

She said focussing on mental aspect of the game helped her during the match.

“My schedule used to start at 4am and I used to focus more on my mind, through meditation and yoga I learnt to keep myself calm. During matches, sometimes we make mistakes in a hurry and we lose points but I could control my thoughts today,” she said.

“I want to thank the coaches, who taught me tricks and technique because of them I have been able to reach here.”

Patel also acknowledged the support that she received from different quarters.

“When a player doesn’t get financial support, it becomes difficult to move ahead in sport because the expenses of playing tournaments are so huge and it is difficult to afford for a middle class family but SAI, TOPS, PCI, government, OGQ, Blind People’s Association, my family, all have supported me.”

With PTI Inputs