How Bhavina Patel used meditation for Tokyo Paralympics success
Bhavina Patel's success at Tokyo Paralympics was a fair reflection of her confidence. She become the first Indian table tennis player to clinch a silver medal at the Paralympics. In her armoury were were meditation, angular pushes with backhand and an incredible use of long pimples which helped her overcome the odds in her maiden Paralympic appearance.
The Mehsana-native caused a massive upset by defeating defending champion Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia in the quarter-finals and Rio 2016 Paralympics silver medallist Zhang Miao of China in the semi-finals on the way to her historic final appearance at the Paralympics.
It was her meditation routine during the matches on court helped her achieve a clarity of thought that was a huge factor in her success.
"Table tennis is kind of sport where in 10-15 mins, entire result can be decided. I always trained for that. I believe that mental strength is important to achieve something big," Patel told Olympics.com.
"It is important to have strong mental strength and it is possible to do something continuously only if your mind supports you to do it. That is why I have taken the help of meditation before trying to do something special.
"I meditated in between the games (at Tokyo Paralympics) to remain focused and positive in order to achieve good results. It helped me get clarity on how to tackle my opponent. I used to visualise that and it made me strong," she further explained.
Patel was introduced to meditation in school but it was after failing to appear at the Rio 2016 Paralympics due to logistical reasons that she took it up seriously and it helped her overcome a rough patch in life.
"I do dhyaan (meditation)since my school days but I couldn't go for the Rio Paralympics in 2016 even after qualifying and I was disturbed after that. I went into depression. I was not able to concentrate," the 34-year-old recalled.
"That is the time when my office colleague Deepak Chaurasia understood my problems. He supported me a lot and asked to undergo Reiki training and after that I did an Art of Living course. I practiced it everyday then. And today, even when my eyes are open, I can concentrate," she added.
It was also the presence of her coach and husband Nikul Patel by the courtside at the Tokyo Paralympics that kept her motivated. She believes that having her 'life-partner' by her side was a massive advantage at the Paralympics.
"He (Nikul Patel) is someone who understands me through my expressions. It is a big advantage to have him on the court. He always motivates me and makes me happy. I remain confident because of him and table tennis is the reason that I've achieved so much in life," Patel said.
And the Tokyo Paralympics could prove to be just the start to an incredible career for Patel who desires to scale greater heights.