India is a sports-loving nation and has a special space in India. We are blessed to have Word class athletes and players which has produced so many great sportsmen in every sport. In recent times Indian women athletes have amazed us by breaking the gender barrier and created a niche which inspired the future generation. Players like Sania Mirza, Mary Kom, Mithali Raj, Saina Nehwal, Geeta Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Deepa Malik, PV Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar, Mithali Raj to name a few have reached the top against odds and also made us proud by being trailblazers the best game-changers we will ever know. They have taught us to look beyond gender stereotypes and paved the way to empower us all.
Today we are all set to talk about inspirational story of Bhavani Devi who created history by become the first Indian fencer in history to qualify for the Olympics. she achieved this feat when Hungary lost to South Korea in the quarterfinals of the Fencing Sabre World Cup, she is a true patriot and wears with pride tri-colour on her full-face masked helmet. Her role model is Queen Velu Nachiyar, also known as Veeramangai, the ruler of Sivaganga who is supposed to have fought in the first war of freedom on the British in 1770s.
The whole nation is eager to know who is Bhavani Devi? The Fencer Bhavani Devi started fencing in School and had to go through initial failure but soon things started turning in her favour and she gone on to win Women’s World Cup satellite tournament in Iceland in 2017. She came way stronger next year, in 2018 and went on to defeat England’s Emily Ruaux 15-12 to win gold in the Commonwealth Championships, she also became the first Indian to do so in the tournament’s 44-year history.
Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic-enforced lockdown she used to do training session on her terrace, before shifting base to an indoor stadium in Chennai, and then once restrictions were eased and started training with her coaches who based out in Livorno, Italy. She is the daughter of a temple priest in Washermanpet, Chennai. But her journey wasn’t easy and had to fight a lot societal pressure to reach the top of them all. During interaction with the media, she was quoted saying “Despite belonging to a conservative background, my parents have never stopped me from pursuing what I like. Sport is far from a popular career choice for girls in my community (Tamil Brahmins) and my parents, even if they faced any flak over it from others, never let it affect me. They’re just happy that I’m finding joy in what I do.”
Fencing is a sport which originated in Europe and is a stranglehold of the continent’s sporting superpowers in this sport being very tight. In the past China, Japan and Korea have broken records in the sport and winning 36 medals. But for an Indian it is a huge achievement, as the equipment is niche, coaching is specialised, the sport isn’t particularly easy to just lace up shoes. Italian coach Nicolo Zanotti spoke highly for Bhavani talent and has speed for sabre, the fastest of the sword events. During her initial staged of her life she used to practice at Thalassery in Kerala as a junior, and soon moved to Livorno in Italy – the 27-year-old had overcame a lot to learn a sport she had come to love and had started getting very good at it.
Chadalavada Anandha Sundhararamana Bhavani Devi has become the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. She has secured a spot in the World Cup in Budapest, Hungary after the hosts lost in the quarterfinals, which allowed South Korea to progress to the semi-final. The 27-year-old qualified through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) Method. Bhavani’s qualification was one woman’s ambition to make it to the Olympics, in a sport she dared to pursue when not many around her did.