Bhavani Devi becomes first-ever Indian fencer to qualify for Olympics
New Delhi, March 15, 2021
India's international sabre fencer Bhavani Devi has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics starting July 23 by virtue of improving her world ranking to 42, confirmed the Fencing Association of India.
The 27-year-old from Chennai is the first Indian fencer ever to make the cut for the Olympics. She qualified for the Games at the Budapest World Cup, an Olympic qualifying competition, on Sunday.
"There were two Olympics quota places in the Asia Oceania group. A Japanese fencer was the first while Bhavani was second," Bashir Ahmed Khan, secretary general of Fencing Association of India, told IANS.
The Indian fencer was training in Italy since November to prepare for the first major global competition in Budapest, said Khan.
"She had reached Budapest on March 9 and had to follow strict quarantine rules. Due to Covid-19, the Hungarian border was closed. The athletes were allowed to travel for the World Cup, but had to follow strict protocol to avoid the spread of the virus," he added.
In the 2019 World Championship, Bhavani had advanced to the quarter-finals which improved her world ranking of 44 points.