'I proved that nothing is impossible, you can do everything...'
Assured of at least a Paralympic silver medal after reaching the table tennis final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday, India's Bhavinaben Patel said she doesn't consider herself as disabled and her performance at the Games proves that 'nothing is impossible'.
Patel became the first Indian to enter the final of a table tennis event in the Paralympics with a hard-fought 3-2 win over China's Miao Zhang in a class 4 semi-final in Tokyo on Saturday.
The 34-year-old from Gujarat stunned her world no. 3 Chinese opponent 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8 in the semi-final match which lasted 34 minutes.
"...I don't consider myself as disabled, I am always confident I can do anything and today I also proved that we are not behind and para table tennis is as ahead as other sports," said Patel, who was diagnosed with polio when she was 12 months old.
"I fought against China and it is always said that it is difficult to win against China. Today I proved that nothing is impossible, you can do everything..."
This was Patel's first victory against the former World No 1 Zhang in 12 meetings.
Patel, who plays in a wheelchair, will take on World No 1 Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the final on Sunday.
She said focussing on mental aspect of the game helped her during the match.
"My schedule used to start at 4am and I used to focus more on my mind, through meditation and yoga I learnt to keep myself calm. During matches, sometimes we make mistakes in a hurry and we lose points but I could control my thoughts today," she said.
"I want to thank the coaches, who taught me tricks and technique because of them I have been able to reach here."
Patel also acknowledged the support that she received from different quarters.
"When a player doesn't get financial support, it becomes difficult to move ahead in sport because the expenses of playing tournaments are so huge and it is difficult to afford for a middle class family but SAI, TOPS, PCI, government, OGQ, Blind People's Association, my family, all have supported me."