Thu. Jun 1st, 2023

Fencer C. A. Bhavani Devi created history by becoming the first Indian to compete at the Olympics. The Chennai-born athlete’s debut campaign in the Women’s Sabre Individual event at the Tokyo Games 2020 began with a dominating 15-3 victory over Nadia Ben Azizi of Tunisia before losing 7-15 to eventual bronze medallist Manon Brunet of France.

In an interaction organised by the Sports Authority of India, Bhavani opened up on her journey, where she underlined the importance of knowledge in fencing.

India at Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Bhavani Devi loses to Manon Brunet in Table of 32

“I had financial struggles, but the more important thing that I lacked at the beginning was knowledge. In 2010, I went for the Junior World Championship in Jordan, which was also the qualification for the first Youth Olympic Games. They were supposed to pick the top 16 from the competition. I went to (round of) 32 and was just one match away from making it. I was 14-14 with another fencer, and I lost the last point. After I finished the match, I was upset because I missed the chance. One referee from Japan told me, ‘You should have asked for the video (appeal) because, in fencing, the referee gives you touch, and if you don’t agree with the touch, you can ask for the video. The referee goes to the second video to recheck, and if it is fine, he can give the same touch or change it’. I did not know that I had that video option. I was more upset about that than losing the match,” said the 27-year-old.

Bhavani Devi: I realised my Olympic dream in Tokyo

Despite the restrictions at the Games due to COVID-19, she did not feel any pressure. “I don’t feel any stress because every athlete dreams about Olympics. Every athlete wants to go to the Olympics and perform in front of the whole world. It has been a 15-year journey to arrive at the Olympics for me. Before the Olympics, we knew that our competition venue was one hour away from the village. It’s okay whatever I have to go through to play at the Olympic Games, I’m ready to do it and I think it will be the same mentality for all the athletes who want to perform in front of the whole world,” said Bhavani, who wants to improve in Paris 2024.

“Before Tokyo, I don’t think anyone used to dream about playing in the Olympics but now everyone will. I am sure sure we will have more fencers in 2024.”

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By tilu858

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