Fencing inevitably happened for CA Bhavani Devi at the Tokyo Olympics. Since he was left with only one choice since he chose the sport at school, having qualified for the Olympics, it has been a memorable and hard journey for Bhavani. The 27-year-old Chennai, who made history by becoming the first Fencer in India to reach the Olympics, trained extensively in Italy and is eagerly heading to Tokyo. “The training went very well. I’m working hard and I’m preparing well for my first Olympics. I participated in some camps with the Italian national team, other international fencers also joined. I also trained in France,” he told PTI in the interaction. .
Bhavani, who is expected to arrive in Tokyo on Tuesday, knows the competition will be fierce.
“The Olympics are a very special competition and the most important for all athletes. So every match will be tough and everything is possible,” he added.
Asked how the COVID-19 pandemic affected his training schedule and whether the postponement of the Olympics helped, he said: “In the beginning we had a lot of confusion with tournaments and the Olympics.”
“Later, I understood the situation, but I wanted to be ready every time the competition started. So I did the workouts at home, on the terrace. Somehow we managed to prepare during the Lockdown and once I got back to Italy, my whole training,” he added.
After losing the Rio Games Qualifiers in 2016, Fencer said he put too much pressure on himself before he realized the importance of staying in the moment.
“It affected my performance. I realized the importance of staying in that moment. Also, the experience I had during this period made me stronger and helped me work harder for Tokyo,” he said.
When asked how he stayed motivated during last year’s Lockdown, Bhavani said he managed everything he could, especially his feet and basic fitness training.
“The training had an impact for sure. Because the fencing opponent needs to feel right. But the whole world was in a pandemic,” he said.
Training with Italian coach Nicola Zanotti helped him improve his performance and classification.
“My Italian coach will go to Tokyo with me. His training has helped me a lot to improve my classification and performance and especially to improve this qualification. We have worked together constantly and the result is this qualification,” he added.
Bhavani’s Tokyo competition will come from the likes of Bianca Pascu (Romania), Sophia Pozdniakova (Russia), Gabriella Page (Canada), Caroline Queroli (France) and Japan’s Chika Aoki. He said he is ready for them.
“The Olympics are a very special competition and most importantly for all athletes. So every game will be tough and everything is possible. I want to give my best and be willing to face it,” he said.
His mother CA Ramani, who will be next to Tokyo, said it would be a big boost. Ramani has been appointed to the Indian Fencing Contingent and has been named P-TAP (People Support Training Program).
“He will encourage me to do my best. He has been my biggest supporter and I hope I will live up to his expectations,” he said.
“My mother was there when I needed her. Although my parents were struggling financially, they gave me my help. Now, how I behave will be my gift,” she added.
Speaking of how he took up fencing, Bhavani said he chose it because other options were met when he entered.
“At school, there were six sports options, including fencing. I joined when I met everyone else and was left with fencing. Many didn’t know it was a sport and I decided to try my hand at it,” he said. ., adding: “I’m glad (I tried it) because I love it now.”
After the initial struggles, his perseverance bore fruit and Fencer’s confidence in winning medals in Indian competitions gave him confidence.
He won his first international medal in 2009, a Bronze in the team event of the 2nd Commonwealth Championship of Malaysia and then won medals in the Asian Fencing Championship in 2010 and a Bronze (individual) in the Commonwealth Championship in 2012.
He also won a silver medal at the Satellite Fencing Tournament in Reykjavik, Iceland (in 2017 and 2018), which Fencer said gave him the confidence to play higher.
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