She becomes the second Indian woman to clinch a podium finish in the event’s history.

India’s para table tennis player Bhavina Patel produced extraordinary performances to reach the semi-finals of the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday. Bhavina got the better of Brazilian Joyce de Oliveira 3-0 in the Class 4 Round of 16 clash.

Such was the Indian’s dominance that she needed just 23 minutes to clinch the contest. The final score read 12-10, 13-11, 11-6 in favour of Bhavina Patel. If her Round of 16 performance was good, her quarterfinal display was truly remarkable. The Indian paddler was facing the mighty Borislava Rankovic Peric of Serbia in the quarterfinals. The Serbian is the current World No. 2 and defending champion.

However, Bhavina Patel wasn’t fazed by her opponent’s stature. She delivered an utterly dominant performance to brush aside Peric 11-5, 11-6, 11-7 in just 18 minutes. Infact, Bhavina trailed at only one point in the entire match: 0-1 in the second game. By reaching the semi-final, she has assured India of a first-ever Paralympic medal in table tennis. This is due to the fact that there are no bronze medal matches in para table tennis, similar to boxing at the Olympics.

Additionally, the 34-year-old has created history by becoming the second Indian woman after Deepa Malik to win a Paralympic medal. Bhavina will now be aiming to create further history tomorrow, when she takes on Miao Zhang of China in the semi-finals at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Rakesh Kumar impresses

In the ranking round of the men’s individual compound archery, Rakesh Kumar started the campaign on an impressive note. Kumar finished in third place in the standings, after accumulating a personal-best total score of 699. He will be full of confidence ahead of his 1/16 elimination round match. His compatriot Shyam Sundar Swami finished in the 21st position, with a total score of 682. Swami will face Matt Stutzman of the USA in the elimination round at the Tokyo Paralympics.

The lone Indian female archer in action was Jyoti Baliyan. She finished in the 15th spot with a total score of 671 in compound archery. Baliyan will now have to overcome the tough challenge of Ireland’s Kerrie-Louise Leonard in the 1/16 elimination round. The recurve event brought less joy for the Indian contingent. The much-fancied Harvinder Singh came 20th in the ranking round with 600. On the other hand, Vivek Chikara did slightly better with a total of 609, finishing 10th.

Elsewhere, India’s star swimmer Suyash Jadhav was scheduled to take part in the heats of the men’s 200m individual medley. However, he skipped the event due to a cold and sore throat, even though his COVID-19 test is negative. Jadhav will now look ahead to the 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly races at the Tokyo Paralympics, two other events in which he has qualified.

Sakina Khatun finishes 5th

In powerlifting, Sakina Khatun finished in fifth place. She competed in the women’s 50kg weight category at the Tokyo Paralympics, having recently changed her weight division. Her best attempt was a lift of 93kg. Considering the change, the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist performed admirably in Tokyo. Another Indian powerlifter Jaideep Deswal finished without a score in the men’s 65kg event.

The final event of the day at the Tokyo Paralympics saw Tek Chand in the men’s shot put final. The 41-year-old was the flagbearer for the Indian contingent in the opening ceremony. However, the final was an outing to forget for Chand. He finished in bottom place, managing just two legal attempts out of six.

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