Bhavani Devi becomes first Indian fencer to qualify for 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Eight-time national champion Bhavani Devi has become the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Tokyo Games through the Adjusted Official Ranking method.

Bhavani Devi, ranked 45 in the world in the Sabre category has made the cut for the Tokyo Olympics this year.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

CA Bhavani Devi has become the first Indian fencer to qualify for the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The sabre fencer secured a spot in the World Cup in Hungary after the host lost in the quarterfinals of the team event, allowing Korea to progress to the semis. Bhavani Devi qualifies through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) Method. 

"It's been my dream. I have been working hard for the last five years for this. My special thanks to my late Appa and Amma for believing in me. I take this opportunity to thank my sponsors, Fencing Association of India and the media," Bhavani told Sportstar.

"Though I lost early in the round of 96 (at the World Cup in Budapest), I was able to maintain my points I got in the World Championship last year. By remaining in the top 2 in Asia by virtue of my points, I was able to make the cut for Tokyo Olympics," she added.

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Two individual spots were up for grabs for the Asia & Oceania region based on the World Rankings as of April 5, 2021. She is ranked 45th and occupies one of the two available slots based on the ranking. The 27-year-old's qualification will be confirmed when the rankings are made official on the aforementioned date.

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The eight-time national champion is not new to the rigours of the qualification process having done this before in 2015. She did not qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016 and contemplated quitting the sport then. Her efforts to make the cut have seen her participate in training camps in Chennai, Thalassery and most recently in Livorno, Italy under coach Nicola Zanotti before the COVID-19-induced shutdown pressed pause on the qualification process.