New Delhi [India], March 15 (ANI): Fencer Bhavani Devi, who scripted history on Sunday by becoming the first fencer from India to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, said this was the moment for which she went through all the sacrifice, challenges and stress but at the end, it was "worth it".
"I have officially qualified for Tokyo Olympic games 2021 by securing a slot through the Asia/Oceania Zone of the Adjusted Official ranking. A moment to remember forever. A moment for which all the sacrifice, hard work, pain, obstacle, challenges, stress, ups and downs, joy, and sorrow I went through was worth it. A journey that started alone but was fulfilled with the support of many. And the journey continues," she said in a lengthy post on Twitter.
Soon after her qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had taken to Twitter and congratulated Devi on her achievement. "Congratulations to Indian fencer Bhavani Devi who has qualified for Tokyo Olympics! She has become the 1st ever Indian fencer to achieve the feat. My best wished to @IamBhavaniDevi," Rijiju had tweeted.
Devi then thanked her parents for their "unending faith" and dedicated the achievement to her family.
"Firstly I would like to thank my parents who have had unending faith in me and let me follow my passion from a very young age. My parents and siblings were a wall of support even when many taunted us to quit the sport. I love you all forever and Thanking is certainly not enough. This victory is yours. Specially dedicated to our father!" Devi wrote.
She also thanked her coach Nicola Zanotti, saying that he not only taught her fencing but also life lessons.
"My coach, Nicola Zanotti with whom I started this Olympic journey. At first, he was surprised that an Indian is dreaming about Olympic representation in fencing but he was confident that if we work hard with the right determination, discipline, and hard work we can achieve it. We worked hard with the same determination and passion for the last 5 years and we are here to represent India at Tokyo. You have not only taught me Fencing lessons but life lessons too. I thank you Nico and we will continue our work!" she said.
"Everything needs a strong base to start off with and to improve further. To my Coaches who had helped me to have a strong base Mr.Vishwanathan, Chennai, and Mr.Sagar lagu, SAI Thalassery -- Thank you for bringing my abilities and potential out. My support team, Gosports foundation who gave me a second opportunity to continue the sport I love, Sports Development authority of Tamil Nadu for their continuous support, Sports Authority of India for developing many initiatives in the sport and constantly supporting me, thank you so much. I want to thank all those individuals who have helped me in person and through crowdfunding. Thank you Allstar fencing for the world-class equipment you have kept providing me with and Thank you to Tamil Nadu Electricity Board," she added.
Tokyo Olympics are set to take place from July 23 to August 8 this year. Whereas, the Paralympics will take place from August 24 to September 5. The Games were scheduled to be held last year, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Devi is now aiming to give her best at the Olympics. "Finally, a Big Thank you Fencing Association of India and the entire Fencing family. You have witnessed all the highs and lows but have been there for me throughout. I would also like to take this opportunity to remember and thank my long-time S&C trainer Mr. Sandile Sibeko who passed away recently. I always wanted to give my best. I always wanted to try. I tried to the best of my abilities and today with the help of you all, I am here to represent our beloved country at the Olympics games in Tokyo 2021. I will do my best at Tokyo with all your support!" she concluded. (ANI)