President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the country in congratulating paddler Bhavinaben Patel for winning a historic silver medal, India's first, in the ongoing Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Sunday. (More Sports News)
Patel on Sunday became only the second Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics after she signed off with a historic silver following a 0-3 loss to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the women's singles table tennis class 4 final.
"Bhavina Patel inspires the Indian contingent and sportslovers winning silver at #Paralympics. Your extraordinary determination and skills have brought glory to India. My congratulations to you on this exceptional achievement," President Kovind tweeted.
The 34-year-old Patel's impressive run at the Games ended with a fighting 7-11 5-11 6-11 loss to Zhou, a two-time gold medallist, in the women's singles summit clash which lasted 19 minutes.
With this medal, Indian team opened its account at the Games.
Prime Minister Modi said Patel's feat is a motivation for youngsters.
"The remarkable Bhavina Patel has scripted history! She brings home a historic Silver medal. Congratulations to her for it. Her life journey is motivating and will also draw more youngsters towards sports. #Paralympics," he tweeted.
Modi also spoke to Patel and congratulated her on the remarkable feat. He also wished her the very best for her future endeavours.
Patel hails from Sundhiya village in Vadnagar, Mehsana in Gujarat and Modi told her that he's been to Sundhiya often and enquired if her family is still there.
Bhavina told him that her Parents are still there.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also took to the social networking site to wish Patel on her success.
"Congratulations #BhavinaPatel on winning the Silver medal in #ParaTableTennis. Your perseverance and success shall shall as motivation for many," Sitharaman wrote on her handle.
Rahul Gandhi added: "Congratulations to Bhavina Patel for winning the #Silver . India applauds your achievement. You've done the nation proud."
India's first individual gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra also saluted Patel's "mental resilence".
"Fantastic performance by @BhavinaPatel6 to bag a silver and open India's account in the #Tokyo2020 @Paralympics. Wonderful show of skill and mental resilience. Extremely proud! #Praise4Para," he tweeted alongwith a letter.
Deepa Malik, who is the current president of Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), was the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic Games when she had claimed a silver in shotput at Rio five years back.
Congratulating Patel for her medal, Malik said: "It is absolutely stunning to see Bhavina's performance, the way she has played the competition it has absolutely stunned the opponents.
"Her game, skill, patience, her coming back, the way she has kept her focus, it is beyond words, it is world class.
"This is the skill and calmness that has made her achieve the feat of silver at Paralympics and our silver girl has given this gift to the nation on national sports day, which is the most apt day to create history for any sports person."
Malik said Patel has shattered the taboos around disability.
"On a personal level, I feel it is a passing on the baton. I always wanted women participation to come forward..so that we can create inclusively, shatter this stereotype and taboo around disability and Bhavina has just done that."
Former cricketers Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble also congratulated the wheelerchair paddler for her historic medal.
"Congratulations to #BhavinaPatel for creating history by winning India's first silver medal in women's singles class 4 table tennis event at the ongoing #TokyoParalympics. A wonderful display of focus , hardwork and mental strength," Sehwag wrote.
Laxman tweeted: "Silver medal for India. Many Congratulations to #BhavinaPatel who has created history by becoming the first Indian para-paddler to win a medal in #Paralympics history."
Kumble added: "Congratulations #BhavinaPatel Proud of you."