Para Champion Credits Wife For His Podium Finish

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Para Champion Credits Wife For His Podium Finish

| Updated: February 14, 2023 12:48

When Ramesh Chaudhary, 36, stood on the podium after bagging gold in mixed doubles at ITTF Egypt Para Open last year with his wife Sonal Patel, 35, it was a moment in the making for a decade – Chaudhary who started playing para table tennis after getting coaching from Sonal had sacrificed his chances at international games so that he could earn and finance his wife’s campaign. Both developed paraplegia following childhood ailments.

Sonal not only represented India at Tokyo Paralympics 2020, but also won bronze at para games of Commonwealth Games in 2022 along with several other laurels at home and abroad.

The couple is perhaps the first from Gujarat to represent India as mixed doubles partners in para table tennis, and theirs is a story of love and camaraderie. Incidentally, February 14 would mark their fourth marriage anniversary.
While Sonal was among the first batch of para table tennis players from the ITI at Blind People’s Association (BPA) in 2008 that included the likes of Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Bhavina Patel, Ramesh Chaudhary got introduced to TT through Sonal in 2011 after he got admission at the ITI for a computer course. He trained under Sonal for over three years and also participated in the tournaments.

It was a natural attraction between the two as they would virtually spend the day together first at the ITI and then at the TT table for practice. These years brought them closer and their families also gave the relationship a seal of approval.

Ramesh took a backseat by the end of 2017-18 when Sonal was making strides in international para TT and had to travel extensively in India and abroad to participate in qualifying games. The wins at these games would provide her a chance to represent India in big-ticket tournaments. 

In 2022, after bagging national and international titles, Sonal took the lead in supporting her husband. They started playing mixed doubles too. They have already won three medals.

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