Sonalben Patel is an Indian para table tennis player who has participated in many national and international competitions. In August 2022, Sonalben came into limelight after winning the bronze medal in table tennis at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Sonalben Manubhai Patel was born on Tuesday, 15 September 1987 (age 35 years; as in 2020) in Viramgam, Gujarat, India. After completing his schooling at Geeta Higher Secondary School, Gujarat, he pursued an ITI course at the Blind People’s Association (BPA).
Hair Color: Black
Eye colour: dark brown
Sonalben Patel belongs to a Gujarati family.
His father’s name is Manubhai Patel. His mother’s name is Labhuben Patel.
Her husband Ramesh Chaudhary is a para-athlete.
According to Sonalben Patel, her journey in table tennis began when Tejalben Lakhia, director of the Blind People’s Academy (BPA), inspired her to pursue a career in table tennis. While giving an interview Sonalben said,
I used to spend hours watching table tennis players, now I laugh that it was Tejalben Lakhia, Superintendent of ITI Department, who inspired me to play table tennis and make a career in it. After which I started practicing for hours together.”
His professional career in table tennis began in 2008 and since then, he has participated in more than twenty-five regional, national and international tournaments. As of August 2022, Sonalben Patel has won more than three gold medals, four silver medals and six bronze medals. In 2021, Sonalben Patel was selected by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, where Sonalben Patel was defeated by South Korean table tennis player Lee Mi-gyu. While giving an interview he said,
I could not win a medal in the Olympics. But I am proud to represent my country there. Being selected for the Olympics is a big thing.”
In March 2022, Sonalben Patel competed at the ITTF Fa40 Egypt Open, where she won two gold medals and one bronze medal.
Sonalben Patel competed at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where she won the bronze medal in the women’s singles event by defeating United Kingdom paddler Sue Bailey by a 3–0 margin. Sonalben Patel said in an interview,
I am very happy because this is my first medal in singles at the Commonwealth Games. I am very happy. I want to dedicate this medal to my husband, family, coach and all my countrymen. I did not win a medal even in Tokyo Paralympics 2020 and this thing remained in my mind. When I was selected for CWG, I wanted to win a medal.
In 2014, the Government of Karnataka honored Sonalben Patel with the Ekalavya Award.
- While giving an interview, Sonalben Patel claimed that when she was just six months old, polio affected her legs and right arm, leading to 90% disability.
- According to Sonalben Patel, she wanted to pursue a career in teaching, but due to her disability, she faced rejection in interviews. While giving an interview he claimed,
I was rejected and even refused to become a teacher, all because of my disability, which was cited as the reason for my rejection.
- Sonalben Patel claims that she had no intention of pursuing a professional career in table tennis and it was her husband who inspired her to pursue a career in the sport. While giving an interview, Sonalben claimed,
I was planning to take up table tennis only as a hobby. But it was my husband who advised me, taught me more about the game and inspired me enough to change my mind. After which I took up this game and pursued it professionally.