Deepa Malik, India’s first woman to win a Paralympics medal hailed Bhavina Patel for matching her feat and winning a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
Patel lost 0-3 to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the women’s singles class 4 final in on Sunday but had already created history by reaching this far.
Patel, who was diagnosed with polio when she was 12 months old, had defeated world no 3 Miao Zhang of China 7-11 11-7 11-4 9-11 11-8 in the semifinal showdown on Saturday. In the quarterfinal on Friday, Patel had defeated 2016 Rio Paralympics gold medallist and world number two Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia to assure a medal and script history.
Malik who won silver medal in shot put at Rio hailed Patel’s performance in Tokyo.
“It’s absolutely stunning the way Bhavina Patel has played the competition,” Malik said.
“The way she has kept her focus it’s beyond words. It’s world class. This is the calmness, this is the skill that has made her achieve the feat of winning a silver at the Paralympics,” she added.
Malik now has company as Patel became just the second Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal.
“On a personal level, I feel it’s like passing on the baton. I always wanted woman participation to come forward that too women in a wheelchair to come forward and win more medals for the country so that we can promote inclusivity, shatter the taboos surrounding the disability and Bhavina has just done that,” she said.
“She will be a huge role model for women empowerment and gender equality. There is so much that a medal in sport can change. Kudos to her and more power to women in India,” added Malik.
Watch Deepa Malik’s full video below: