Tokyo 2020: How did Indian fencer Bhavani Devi fare at the Olympics?
CA Bhavani Devi is the first fencer from India to have qualified for the Olympics.
Bhavani qualified through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) method. There were two places up for grabs from the Asia-Oceania region based on world rankings and courtesy of being ranked 45th in the world, she became eligible for one of the two spots.
How did Bhavani Devi perform at Tokyo 2020?
The Chennai-based athlete had a dream debut at the Olympics. She was pitched against Tunisia's Nadia Ben Azizi 15-3 in the opening round.
Bhavani allowed her opponent to come into the front foot but stopped in her tracks by not allowing her to build on the 'right of way'. The 'right of way' rule is the yardstick that determines which fencer gets the points in case both register a valid touch. The points are awarded to that fencer who initiates the attack.
Her defence was spot on and she had little trouble to neutralise Azizi's ferocious advances. She pinned her frequently with her riposte (counter-attack) and scored eight points on the trot in the first period.
In the second round, she threw caution to the wind and sliced open Azizi time and again. Within six minutes and 14 seconds, she pocketed the win with a scoreline of 15-3. In fencing, the first to get to 15 points wins the match.
It was also historic in the sense that it was the first win by an Indian fencer at the Olympics.
In the second round, she went up against World No.3 and Rio 2016 Olympian Manon Brunet of France. It was a tricky match for the Indian but she continued to attack Manon with intent. She was responded to in kind by the veteran of the sport and Manon was continuously awarded 'the right of way' advantage. At the end of the opening period, she had an 8-2 lead.
In the second period, Bhavani continued to be offensive but failed to cut through Manon's defence. After fighting valiantly for nine minutes and 48 seconds, she went down 15-7.