Bhavani Devi: India’s First Ever Fencer to Qualify for Olympics

After years of hard work and struggle, the eight-time national champion won a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics

Fencing is a sport that is barely recognized by the people of India because the sport is not played by a massive number of people. Furthermore, the costly nature and the scarcity of media coverage have pushed the sport to remain in shadow for a protracted period in the country. For those unversed, fencing is a sport where two participants engage each other with a sword. When a player strikes his or her opponent with the sword, the player is awarded points. To protect themselves from getting injured, the participants wear an outfit called lamé.

Although not a famous sport in the nation, it is a proud occasion for Indians as a fencer from the country has created history by qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics; a first in India’s history. Chadalavada Anandha Sundhararaman Bhavani Devi, who is also identified as C. A Bhavani Devi, has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to commence from the 23rd of July 2021. In the recently held World Cup in Hungary, the sabre secured a spot after the host team lost in the quarter-final round.

Official tweets about the performance:

  • Sports Authority of India (SAI)-“It is a historic moment as @IamBhavaniDevi 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!”
  • Kiren Rijuju, Union Sports Minister of India- “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 @IamBhavaniDevi.”

After hearing the news of Bhavani’s accomplishment, her coach Sagar Lagu at SAI said to The Wire, “I am delighted for her. She was trying to qualify for the Olympics from 2012. This is the first time any Indian fencer has qualified for the Olympics. She did not give up, though she faced hard times early in her career to achieve her goals.”

Last but not least, Bhavani had an exchange with The Hindu newspaper and said, “It’s been my dream. I have been working hard for the last five years for this. My special thanks to my (late) father and mother for believing in me. I take this opportunity to thank my sponsors, Fencing Association of India and the media.”

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