Bhavani Devi becomes India’s first fencer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
Bhavani Devi makes history for India after she becomes the first fencer from the country to qualify for Olympics scheduled for this year in Tokyo. The saber confirmed her spot at the Olympics on Tuesday after she secured a spot at the World Cup in Hungry after the hosts suffered a surprising loss.
The fencer from Tamil Nadu has qualified through the official ranking method after it was confirmed that there were two spots for grabs for Asia and Oceanic region, which will be based on word ranking as of April 5, 2021.
She is currently ranked 45th in the world and has occupied one of the two positions based on ranking. Even though there has not been any official confirmation from the international federation but it is just a matter of formality as they will soon be announcing the call.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said, “It is a historic moment as Bhavani Devi becomes the 1st ever fencer from India to qualify for the Olympics in women’s individual sabre on basis of Adjusted Official ranking at the Men’s and Women’s Sabre World Cup in Budapest. Many congratulations!”
Even the Union Minister for Sports Kiren Rijiju also tweeted about the athletes achievement saying, “Congratulations to Indian fencer Bhavani Devi who has qualified for Tokyo Olympics! She has become the 1st ever Indian fencer to achieve the feat. My best wishes to Bhavani Devi.”
This is especially a big teal for the Indian contingent as Fencing was never a sport for India or at least people thought that it wasn’t. Its origins can be traced back to Europe and even after that, it were the Europeans who have excelled in the sport but for Indians to crack this nut is a huge deal with limited resources that it has.
Her story is not as simple as saying that she trained hard for what she achieved. The thing with fencing is that in India, there are no specialised trainers to learn from. There was no doubt that Devi had the speed for Sabre, which is the fastest sports event, but talents that puts her on the top level.
Italian coach and mastermind Nicolo Zanotti once had spoken about her ability to grasp the nuances while keeping up the speed of the movements. The game has to come to her after she started training at the age of 9. She designed this path breaking journey of hers to open doors for more such fencers hailing from India.