Bhavani Devi Led Fencing has been on a rise since the start of 2022.
Writer : M Sudharshan
In a country where we did not have many fencers taking up the sport till the Tokyo Olympics. However now we can see good participation followed by some encouraging results as well.
Fencing is a group of thee combat sports, the three disciplines in the modern fencing are the Foil, the Epee & the Sabre. Competitive fencing is one of the five activities which have been featured in every modern Olympic Games, the other four being athletics, cycling, swimming, & gymnastics.
At the last olympics Fencing was one of the thirteen sports which offered Medals in double digits. Fencing had twelve medals on offer.
Italy, France & Hungary have been the most successfull at this event in the olympics winning more than ninety medals each.
Bhavani Devi – The Flag Bearer of Indian Fencing
Chadalavada Anandha Sundhararaman Bhavani Devi, known as C A Bhavani Devi became the most familiar name in the Indian household and she made the country sit and watch fencing on the morning during the Tokyo games. She is the first Indian ever to qualify for the olympics
At Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she became the first Indian fencing player to win a match at the Olympics after registering a confident 15-3 win against Tunisia’s Nadia Ben Azizi. But, in the next round, she lost to world number three and Rio Olympic semifinalist Manon Brunet of France, 7-15.
Bhavani was initially coached by Sagar Lagu at the national level and currently trains with Nicola Zanotti in Italy. She won her first international medal in 2009 — a bronze in the team event at the 2nd Commonwealth Championship in Malaysia.
That was followed by another team bronze in the 2010 Asian Fencing Championship in the Philippines, silver (team) and bronze (individual) in Commonwealth Championships in 2012, and silver in the 2015 Asian Championships in Mongolia.
Her biggest achievement so far is a silver medal she won in the 2017 World Cup event in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Shilpa Garg had previously won a silver medal in a satellite event.
Recent Results have been Encouraging
In the men’s section, Gisho Nidhi is an experienced fencer along with young Karan Singh and Vishal Thapar. In the recently held Grand Prix in Italy Gisho Nidhi finished 22nd out of the 200 odd fencers bringing up his ranking to 83. He is also the highest-ranked Indian in Sabre.
Karan Singh finished 31 st in the Italian Grand Prix through which he jumped from 258 to 118 in his rankings. On his way to the round of 32, he beat WR 19 and other higher-ranked opponents. This event has been by far the most successful in terms of experience and results for India.
In Epee the WR 664 Taniksha Khatri finished 31 st out of the 124 fencers in the Doha Grand Prix defeating WR 20 Coquin in the process. With this performance, she jumped to a ranking of 192 from a jump of 350 places.
The Junior Circuit
Abhay Krishna Shinde has been a good prospect in the men’s sabre finishing 24th at the World Championships in Dubai and 5th at Zone Championship in Uzbekistan. Overall he is ranked 42nd . Siva Magesh an epee fencer is ranked 28th . He finished 5th at the World Championship in Dubai and 25 th at the Zone Championship helping him get to a career-best rank.
Kanupriya at the age of 14 is ranked 138 th in the foil section. She finished 74 th in the recently held World Championship. A fun fact is that when Kanupriya was 11yr old she played the role of a coach, while mother Lovely made a mark of medals at the state level in fencing who was aged 40 then.
Recently the sports ministry included fencing in one of the 14 sports categories to be developed. They are keeping the 2024 and 2028 Olympics in mind. In Jammu, there is a Fencing center state of Excellence developed for promoting. It gives world- class facilities to young fencers. With the development of infrastructure Fencing can definitely be another sports India can look up to and beat the mighty Europeans. A Good future is in the hands of young Indian Fencers. The current young brigade has a lot to offer.