Bhavina, Sonal face Chinese tests in early TT matches
Tokyo, Aug 24 (IANS) India will open its campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with para table tennis players Sonal Patel and Bhavina Patel in action in the preliminary rounds of their respective categories. Both will start against strong Chinese opponents in their first group stage matches.
Playing in Women’s Singles Class 3 – Group D, Sonal Patel will face China’s Li Qian. Sonal is ranked 19th and making her Paralympic Games debut while Qian is ranked 5th and will compete in her fourth Paralympic Games. She has won four gold medals and one silver at her three previous Paralympic Games.
The South Korean Lee Mi Gyu is the other player in Group D. The winner of the group will move on to the next stage.
Bhavina Patel will enter into action in Class 4 Group A ladies’ singles against another Chinese Zhou Ying, the world No. 2 in this class, in the opening. Briton Megan Shackleton is the third player in Group A.
Bhavina is ranked eighth in the world and hopes to beat the British player to maintain her hopes of qualifying for the next round, as 15 players have been split into five groups of three each.
It is also the first Paralympic Games in Bhavina.
While Bhavina is ranked 8th in the world in its category, Sonal is ranked 19th. Both received the Sardar Patel Prize and the Eklavya Prize and were medalists at the Asian Games.
Bhavina won the bronze medal at the International Table Tennis Federation Asian Table Tennis Championship August 23-31, 2017 in Beijing, China. She reached second place in the world by winning a silver medal in the individual category at the PTT Thailand Table Tennis Championship in 2011.
Bhavina and Sonal trained under coach Lalan Doshi at the Ahmedabad Association of the Blind.
bsk / kh