Olympian Bhavani Devi gunning for golden hat-trick in fencing at National Games

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Indian fencer Bhavani Devi is ready to showcase her skills and go for a hat-trick of gold medals at the National Games 2022, which starts in Gujarat on Tuesday.

The Indian fencer made waves at the National Games in 2011, beating Kerala’s Reetha Puthussery for the gold in Ranchi before defending her title four years later by beating Punjab’s Komalpreet Shukla in the women’s sabre in Nedumbassery.

Though she was born in Chennai, Bhavani Devi represented Kerala in the previous two editions as she was training at the SAI Centre in Thalassery, Kerala. This time, she will be representing Tamil Nadu.

The fencing competition at the National Games 2022 will begin on September 30 in Gandhinagar.

“I had all but given up on winning my third gold in the National Games,” Bhavani Devi said during a media interaction, referring to the long gap since the last Games at Kerala 2015.

“I was thrilled when I heard three months back that Gujarat had stepped in to host the Games. I think Indian fencing has come a long way in the last seven years. The competition will be different this time and I want to perform well again.”

Bhavani Devi is geared up to travel from France for the National Games 2022, an event which she admittedly loves.

“The National Games is a very special competition for me. In 2011 and 2015, I watched the competition in other sports as well. It is such a wonderful celebration of sports. We get to interact with several top athletes of the country and get inspired by each other,” Bhavani stated.

“I did not think we would have the National Games in 2022 since we had the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games scheduled for this year. When the Asian Games got postponed, I was told that we could possibly have the National Games in its place. I was mentally ready for that, my coach and I were able to plan for this competition.”

Bhavani Devi intends to finetune her technique and mental strength at the National Games 2022 and it also gives her a platform to assess herself before the Asian Games next year.

“I will use the competition next week to assess where I stand before the Asian Games and the qualifications for the Paris 2024 Olympics. I just want to focus on improving technically and mentally,” Bhavani said.

Bhavani Devi made history during Tokyo 2020 when she became the first Indian fencer to compete at the Olympics, even winning her first match before falling to eventual bronze-medallist Manon Brunet of France.

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