Inspiring Story of the Wheelchair Table Tennis Player Who Has Her Eyes Set on 2020 Paralympics!

Bhavina Patel and three other para table tennis players are making India proud on the international stage and the Blind People’s Association is helping them achieve greater heights!

In the year 2004, when Bhavina Patel moved to Ahmedabad from her native village Sundhiya in Mahesana district of Gujarat, she was a simple, naive 17-year-old stepping out of home for the very first time. Today, she is an Eklavya awardee para table tennis player, who reigns over the 45 sq ft area of the ping-pong table like a boss!

Currently India’s No.1 (Class 4) para table tennis player, Bhavina is ranked at the 13th position internationally.


Bhavina Patel with her medals and trophies

Her performance has been impeccable at top level competitions, including world championships like Thailand Open and Japan Open, among others. Bhavina, who has never let disability define her life on or off-court, has represented India in 15 international tournaments so far and brought home 10 medals. What this supergirl needs now is support and heartfelt wishes for her dreams of netting a gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics!


“Presently, I am preparing for the 2018 Para Table Tennis World Championship organised by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). However, my long-term goal is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. I am sure with all the well-wishers’ blessings and my efforts, I’ll be able to get a medal for the country,” says Bhavina with a confident smile.

While Bhavina has talent, perseverance and the drive for success, she also needs strong financial support to pursue her dreams. Trying to make Bhavina’s and other para-athletes’ dreams come true is the Ahmedabad-based organisation Blind People’s Association (BPA).

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BPA works towards providing equal opportunities to all categories of people with disabilities; it is currently on a mission to mobilise funds for four para table tennis players – Bhavina Patel, Sonal Patel, Usha Rathod, and Ramesh Chaudhary. All four are currently training at the BPA sports facility. While Usha and Ramesh are national players, Bhavina and Sonal have made their mark on the international platform.

“We are doing everything we can to make the young athletes’ dreams come true. Athletes like Bhavina are the pride of the country, as well as an inspiration for each and every specially-abled person! We need all the support we can get to send them to participate in more and more tournaments,” says Dr Bhushan Punani, Executive Secretary of BPA.

Active in different areas like education, healthcare, vocational training, employment opportunities, and sports training, BPA strives to make disabled people independent. However, this crowd funding initiative to promote the para-athletes is a first for the organisation.

“This is the first time we are running a campaign for such a cause. Usually, we collect funds for our institutional requirements like training programmes and medical assistance. However, we feel that supporting sportspersons is of equal importance. Sports offer an entirely new avenue to the specially-abled. When other specially-abled persons out there realise that para-athletes like Bhavina have so many well-wishers and supporters, it will provide a morale boost to them,” says Punani.

Bhavina, who recently got a job with the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) in the sports quota, says that table tennis is her life!


Bhavina (left) with other para athletes

“This sport has given me immense confidence and self-esteem. Before coming to BPA, I was a very shy girl; I wouldn’t even speak a few sentences with anyone. At BPA, I received exposure to the world of sports and my life has not been the same since,” she beams.

Bhavina believes a sportsperson’s strength lies in the mind, not the body.

“You need to train your mind to be victorious. Then everything falls into place. Whether you are disabled or not, I would give the same advice: Never ever underestimate yourself. Each one has a unique talent, which can be brought out and honed,” she says.

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To help para-athletes Bhavina, Snehal, Usha, and Rahul, you can donate to BPA’s campaign on Impact Guru here

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