Olympics qualification could put India on fencing map, feels Bhavani Devi

Bhavani Devi said her achievement has the potential to put India on the fencing map while recalling the change in attitude of top athletes towards her over the years.

Bhavani Devi   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

C.A. Bhavani Devi, who recently became the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics, feels her achievement has the potential to put the country on the fencing map.

During a virtual interaction with the media, Bhavani Devi recalled how the attitude towards her from the top athletes over the years has changed.

“Earlier when I used to travel alone without a coach for competitions, I felt they did not have the same respect for me compared to other fencers. But now that has changed and I feel a sense of respect from all the top athletes,” said Bhavani in the interaction organised by Go Sports Foundation who have been backing the fencer from Tamil Nadu.

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

“When it was confirmed I had qualified, the top fencers came and congratulated me saying I was very strong and no one could stop me. It (the recognitions) was not just for Bhavani but for the whole Indian fencing fraternity,” she added.

Speaking about the financial challenge of pursuing a niche sport, the 27-year-old shared an insight into how she had to inflate her father’s annual income to even begin pursuing it seriously.

 “I realised why the teacher asked me about my father’s annual income because the equipment was very costly and I had to practice with bamboo sticks. The swords had to be saved only for the competition since I can’t afford to break them,” said Bhavani.