CHENNAI: CA Bhavani Devi of Tamil Nadu is delighted to have won silver medal in the U-23 Asian Fencing Championships held in Philippines. Of the 16 who represented India in the event, she is the only one to return with a medal. Bhavani lost to her rival from Kazakhstan in the final. This is India’s first medal at the Asian U-23 championship.
Bhavani had trained in the US for the Asian Games, but when no fencing team from India was sent to Incheon, she was dejected. But it propelled her to do well in Manila and bag a medal in the sabre category. “I’m happy and thrilled at bagging a silver medal,” said Bhavani after reaching Chennai on Sunday evening.
Dedication, focus and systematic training helped her make a mark. “Initially, I trained in the US for the Asian Games. I was dejected that no team was sent to Korea. In hindsight, that training helped me bag a medal at Manila,” said Bhavani.
“I was determined to prove a point and luckily, things worked for me,” she added. Did she expect a medal and how were her preparations? “I certainly expected a medal. I had worked hard for 45 days. I was focused, kept working on fitness, reflexes and agility and the hard work paid off.”
Bhavani made an impression as players from 28 countries vied for top honours. Although she missed gold, she was not nervous. “I could have done better. I wasn’t nervous. I attribute my confidence to regular training with my coaches,”’ said Bhavani.
“I train regularly at SAI, Kerala. It’s there that I work on my game and try to polish my skills. Facilities are good and my coaches Sagar and Suresh (from Maharashtra) have been very helpful. Their guidance helped me get this medal,” reflected Bhavani.
Her next target is the Commonwealth fencing meet in November and her ultimate goal is the Olympics.