Tokyo Paralympics: Paddlers Sonalben, Bhavinaben lose opening matches


Indian paddler Sonalben Manubhai Patel suffered a close 3-2 defeat against China’s Qian Li in her opening Group D match in the women’s singles – class 3 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Tokyo on Wednesday.

World No 4 Qian Li defeated Sonalben in five sets by 3-2 (9-11, 11-3, 15-17, 11-7, 11-4) in 36 minutes. Sonalben Manubhai Patel will next face South Korea’s Mi Gyu Lee on Thursday in her second Group D match.

The Indian started the match on the front foot as she took the first game 11-9. Li then came back strongly as she dominated and won the second set by 11-3 in just five minutes. The third set was a marathon as Patel held her nerves against the Rio 2016 silver medallist to edge ahead 17-15.

The Chinese again shifted the momentum as she forced the decider by winning the fourth game by 11-7. Qian gave no respite to Sonalben in the fifth set too, as she clinched the game by 11-4.

In a later match, her compatriot, Bhavinaben Hasmukhbhai Patel lost 3-0 against Ying Zhou in the Women’s Singles – Class 4 Group A match.

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