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Bhawani Devi, the daughter of a priest who won India’s first-ever fencing match in the Olympics

 

 

Bhavani Devi created history by becoming the first Indian to qualify for Olympics fencing. She bowed out after her Round of 32 loss on Monday, but she has truly been a great ambassador for the sport in India, as per TOI.

On debut, Bhavani, competing in the individual women’s sabre category, won her round of 64 match by beating Tunisia’s Ben Azizi Nadia in just over six minutes. This was India’s first win in fencing at the Olympics and a great moment.

 

 

However, World No. 3 Frenchwoman Manon Brunet was too strong for her in the Round of 32, as Bhavani lost 7-15. “I could have done much better in the first half against Brunet. In the second half, I made a few changes and did everything I could but it was too late. She is one of the best fencers in the world and I was happy to have given my best against her,” Bhavani told TOI.

 

Her stay might have been short, but Bhavani felt this experience would stand her in good stead for future competitions. “I have been working on a few areas in the last few months and will continue to put in the hard work. The experience of the Tokyo Olympics has made me more motivated, more determined to push myself harder in future to bring laurels for India,” said Bhavani.

She is hopeful that fencing will be taken up by more people in the coming years. “It is a sport where our country can do well. There is a lot of support from the federation and from the government,” said Bhavani, who comes from a modest background. Her late father C Sundararamana was a priest and mother Ramani a housewife and she picked up the sport accidentally in school and hasn’t looked back since.

 

 

 

 

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