The 27-year-old is ready to take part in the mega event.

Bhavani Devi, who created history by becoming the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympic Games, expressed that she is looking forward to giving off her best performance in Tokyo 2020.

“It will be the first time when most of our country will watch Fencing and will watch me play, so will give my best performance in front of them,” she said.

By winning a quota through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) method after the Budapest World Cup in March, the Indian fencer marked a major milestone in a long journey. She had started her career by training with bamboo sticks. The sense of excitement on becoming the first fencer to represent India at the Olympics isn’t lost on Bhavani Devi.

Given the prevailing Covid-19 situation and with tournaments likely to get cancelled, Bhavani Devi is expecting to continue training in Italy before departing for the Olympic Games from there. Inducted into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme in April, she is now attending a three-week camp in May where she is be training with the Italian National team.

Her late father was a priest and her mother is a homemaker. She is grateful for the support she has received from her parents at every step. “Only because of my parents, I was able to push myself harder to overcome difficulties,” she said during a media interaction facilitated by the Sports Authority of India.

Bhavani Devi remarked, “My mother always encouraged me. She would tell me If today is not good, tomorrow will be better. If you give 100 percent, you will definitely get the result. Even from her hospital bed when she was recovering from Covid-19, she told me to focus on my dream and play in the Budapest World Cup rather than return home to be with her.”

She said voices had dissuaded her from continuing with Fencing when Olympic qualification seemed a distant dream, but her parents encouraged her to carry on.

“When my ranking wasn’t close to the qualification, people used to ask why is she investing so much time in the sport. She’s a woman, she could get an education and think of getting a job. I didn’t get encouragement from outside, my mother and father told me to not worry,” Bhavani Devi concluded.

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