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Bhavinaben secures medal in Paralympics

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Tokyo: Bhavinaben Patel on Friday scripted history by becoming the first Indian table tennis player to secure a medal in the Paralympics after she entered the semifinals with a stunning straight-game win over world number 5 Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia in the women’s singles Class 4 event here.

The 34-year-old Indian beat her Serbian opponent 11-5 11-6 11-7 in a quarterfinal match that lasted 18 minutes.

She takes on Zhang Miao of China in the semifinals on Saturday but she is guaranteed of at least a bronze. There is no bronze-medal play-off in Tokyo Paralympics table tennis, and both losing semi-finalists are guaranteed of a bronze medal.

“It is sure that we can see a medal from her. Tomorrow morning’s match (semifinal) is a huge decider what colour of the medal she will win,” Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik said in a video footage on her Twitter handle.

In 2017, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board had approved the International Table Tennis Federation’s request to remove the third-place play-off in all the medal events and award bronze to both the losing semi-finalists.

Earlier in the day, she had beaten Joyce de Oliveira of Brazil 12-10 13-11, 11-6 in Round of 16 to become the first Indian table tennis player to reach the quarterfinals in the Paralympics.

Athletes in Class 4 category have fair sitting balance and fully functional arms and hands. Their impairment may be due to a lower spinal-cord lesion or cerebral palsy.

“I could win my semifinal match due to the support of the people of India. Please keep supporting me so that I can win my semifinal match,” Patel said after the quarterfinal match.

She had entered the knock-our round after winning one match and losing the other group game.

Compatriot Sonalben Manubhai Patel had lost both her group matches on Thursday to bow out of the competition.

Powerelifter Sakina Khatun finishes fifth

Indian powerlifter Sakina Khatun finished a creditable fifth in the women’s 50kg category at the Tokyo Paralympics on Friday.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist had the best effort of 93kg.

China’s Dandan Hu took home the gold with a best effort of 120kg, while Rehab Ahmed of Egypt, who also lifted 120kg, and Great Britain’s Olivia Broome (107kg) took the silver and bronze respectively.

The 32-year-old Khatun lifted 90kg in her first attempt. She went for 93kg in her second attempt but failed. She managed to lift 93kg in her third try.

Khatun is the only Indian woman Paralympian to ever win a Commonwealth Games medal when she claimed bronze in 2014 in Glasgow. She is also a 2018 Para Asian Games silver medallist.

Powerlifting is open to athletes with an eligible physical impairment in their legs or hips, which would prohibit them from competing in able-bodied (standing) weightlifting.

There is only one sport class in powerlifting, but the athletes compete in different weight categories.

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