When Harsh Sanghavi visited paralympic winner Bhavina Patel’s house in Ghatlodia, Ahmedabad he was curious to know how she practiced table tennis. On behalf of the Gujarat Government he presented a ₹3 crore reward for her historic silver medal win at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and also took insights into her journey.
The youngest member of Gujarat Cabinet, Sanghavi reached Shubh-Labh tenement in Ghatlodia at around 11.15am. He said “Bhavina has made us all proud. Gujarat ni dikri par aamne garv chhe. You should all see how she converted her room into a table tennis practice spot. I’m lucky to have played a game with her. During Covid-19 lockdown when people were figuring out the unprecedented situation, Bhavina focused on her game and excelled at it.”
He is allocated nine ministerial portfolios that include Home, Disaster Management and Police Housing; Minister for State in Sports, Youth and Cultural Activities, NRI, Excise and Prohibition, Border Security and Prisons.
Patel, who hails from Sundhiya village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, went down 0-3 to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou to win the silver medal in her maiden Paralympic Games. She was diagnosed with polio when she was 12-month-old, had defeated world no 3 Miao Zhang of China 7-11 11-7 11-4 9-11 11-8 in the semi-final showdown.
“In Gujarat, we want to encourage young people to take up sports. If there are any glitches with the process or infrastructure in the field then I’m happy to listen to those problems and address them. Not just Bhavina, if any sportsperson faces any issues in their sport they can directly call me. No need to reach me through email or a mediator, I will be happy to help even if you call me directly.” Sanghvi added.
Patel said, “Parathletes need financial and infrastructure facilities to move ahead in their careers. Lots of development is needed for such athletes and there are lots of places where a wheelchair is not accessible. I’m grateful to Harsh Sanghavi ji for rewarding me with this huge amount of money. It is encouraging to sports people like me who put in years of hard work in acing the game.”