Always wanted to be in this support system: Bhavani Devi on being selected for TOPS

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India fencer Bhavani Devi (Photo/ Kiren Rijiju Twitter)
India fencer Bhavani Devi (Photo/ Kiren Rijiju Twitter)

New Delhi [India], April 21 (ANI): Indian fencer Bhavani Devi, who recently created history as she became the first Indian in history to qualify for the Olympics in the sport of fencing, said she always wanted to be a part of the TOPS support system.

Soon after the historic feat, Bhavani was selected for Sports Authority of India's (SAI) prestigious Target Olympic Scheme (TOPS) that would give her financial support for her travel, training, and equipment along with a monthly Out of Pocket Allowance (OPA) of Rs 50,000 for personal use.

"I am really glad on being selected in TOPS as it is one of the most important (prestigious) scholarships program and support for any athlete. I know many athletes who have achieved better after being supported by TOPS and I always wanted to be in this kind of support (system)," Bhavani said.

"I have struggled a lot in the beginning of my career where I lacked good support and felt alone in my journey and now, I feel the whole country is with me. With this scheme, with the support from the government and the world watching the Olympics, I know I am now with a team and not alone anymore. I am very happy and know this will help me perform better and with far much less stress," she added.

With regards to her expectations at the Olympics, Bhavani is a realist and says she will do her best and make everyone proud.

"I know no one has ever watched my sport or watched my fence. So, this is a good opportunity and I am happy that the whole world would be watching me fence at the Olympics and I just want to do my best there and make them proud and I am sure I will make them proud," she said.

She further spoke of her love for fencing and the life lessons it had taught her.

"Fencing has taught me to accept all the movements in my life, be it of failures or success. It has taught me to just keep on working and progress. The sport has helped me to develop my confidence and it brings out the ability I have in me. I learn every day and every training session and that helps me every day even in my day to life. There is a lot Fencing has taught me and is still teaching me. I feel the whole country is with me," the fencer said.

Bhavani became the first-ever Indian fencer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games in March this year through the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) Method.

She is currently training in Italy under coach Nicola Zanotti and in July would be part of the Indian contingent heading to the Tokyo Olympics that is scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8 this year. (ANI)