C.A. Bhavani Devi, who recently became the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics, feels her achievement has the potential to put the country on the fencing map.
During a virtual interaction with the media, Bhavani recalled how the attitude from top athletes towards her has changed over the years.
“Earlier, when I travelled alone without a coach for competitions, I felt they did not have the same respect for me compared to other fencers. But now that has changed and I feel I am getting respect from all top athletes,” said Bhavani in the interaction organised by Go Sports Foundation, who have been backing her.
“When it was confirmed that I had qualified, top fencers came and congratulated me, saying that I was very strong and no one could stop me. It (the recognitions) was not just for Bhavani but for the whole Indian fencing fraternity.”
On the financial challenges of pursuing a niche sport, the 27-year-old shared an insight into how she had to inflate her father’s annual income to even begin pursuing it seriously.
“I realised why the teacher asked me about my father’s annual income because the equipment was very costly and I had to practice with bamboo sticks. The swords had to be saved only for the competition since I couldn’t afford to break them,” said Bhavani.