JAPAN. Tokyo: Debutante Indian fencer Bhavani Devi’s Olympic campaign ended today after creating history for India. Devi showed sheer determination and fought very well against France’s Manon Brunet. However, the French fencer defeated Devi 7-15 in a Round of 32 matches of the women’s individual sabre competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Manon established an early lead as she went on the attack, pushing Bhavani back and making the touch to win points. The first round ended 9-2 in Manon’s favour.
Devi was more aggressive in the second round as she narrowed the gap after Manon had scored two more points. Bhavani scored four points in quick succession and narrowed the lead to 11-6.
In her first match, Devi played exceptionally well and defeated Nadia Ben Azizi of Tunisia 15-3. Sharing her feelings on Twitter, Devi said, “Big Day. It was exciting & Emotional. I won the first match 15/3 against Nadia Azizi and become the first Indian fencing player to win a match at the Olympics but 2nd the match I lost 7/15 against world top 3 player Manon Brunet. I did my level best but couldn’t win. I am sorry.”
“Every end has a beginning, I will continue my practice and definitely work hard to win a medal at the next Olympics in France and make my country proud. I want to thank each one of you who stood by me,” she added.
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Devi is the first Indian to win a silver medal in the Asian Championships and gold at the Commonwealth Championships in 2019. Devi had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the individual sabre section following the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) Method employed after she could not participate in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying event due to COVID-19 restrictions.