PANAJI: For a divyang, life is a struggle even to wake up from the bed! As Tokyo 2020 Paralympics silver-medalist Bhavina Patel recounted her ordeal, she sounded blessed to narrate the moment when she experienced her first turning point thanks to table tennis.

“Back in 2004-05, when I went to Ahmedabad to pursue a ITI Computer course; I saw Blind People Association friends playing. I started playing table tennis and enjoyed it. My interest grew and my confidence got a boost. I said to myself,  ‘yes, this is the way to change the direction of my life’. I had suffered as a child due to my disability but, I play table tennis with such a feeling of enjoyment, that I forget my disability,” remarked 34-year-old wheelchair-bound Bhavina, who is in Goa as a special guest to kick off Disability Rights Association of Goa’s (DRAG) 18th anniversary celebrations.

Having won India’s first ever para-table tennis Paralympics medal recently, Bhavina labelled her historic silver medal-winning feat as ‘khushiyon wala’ turning point of such a huge magnitude where she has overnight turned into a celebrity as in her own words, she wasn’t even known in her neighborhood before she boarded the flight for Tokyo.

Addressing the press conference to announce the anniversary programme, DRAG President, Avelino de Sa emphasised the association’s continual efforts in sensitising the society and coordinating with the government to resolve the issues of accessibility, education, employment and sports facilities/support among others.

DRAG Press Conference held in Panaji on Friday

DRAG’s 18th anniversary celebrations will be held on Saturday (October 30) at 11 am at Sanjay Centre for Special Education, Porvorim.  Minister for Ports, Michael Lobo will be the Chief Guest and will felicitate Bhavina Patel for her achievements.

Patel will interact with the Goa Para Table Tennis players and share her experiences. A book by noted writer, poet and artist Frederika Menezes titled ‘Miguel’ will also be released on the occasion. Frederika is a person with cerebral palsy and this is her fifth book.

The Goa Team of para-TT players, which participated in the Nationals recently, will be felicitated on the occasion. Four persons with disability Vishant Nagvekar, Akshay Fadte, Karleen de Mello and Tania Fernandes, will also be felicitated for the outstanding achievement for ‘person with disability’.

Disability Rights Association of Goa is a disabled persons organisation, started 18 years ago with the main objective of bringing people with disability into the mainstream society.

Media-partner announcement

Meanwhile, ‘Livenewsgoa – News For Positivity’ startup web-channel has been announced as the media partner by DRAG. DRAG’s 18th anniversary celebrations will be Live-streamed on Saturday.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here