Services, Kerala retain team titles in National Fencing Championships

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Rudrapur (Uttarakhand), Mar 21 (PTI) Services retained the men's team championships, winning the top prize with all three weapons in the 31st Senior National Fencing Championships that concluded at the Delhi Public School here on Sunday.

Kerala retained the women's overall team prize, thanks to the Saber squad's 45-41 win over Punjab. Despite winning both the Foil and Epee honours, Manipur ended up two points short of Kerala in the women's team championships.

Powered by individual Foil and Sabre champions Arjun and Kumaresan Padma Nidhi respectively as well as by Epee bronze medallist Pankaj Kumar Sharma, each of the Services teams claimed gold, leaving the best of other sides to settle for the lesser medals.

Punjab, runner-up in the team Foil and Sabre events, claimed the second spot ahead of Odisha.

Yet, all the teams will concede that it was Tokyo Olympics-bound Bhavani Devi's ninth successive individual Sabre national title that was the toast of the three-day meet.

After becoming the first Indian fencer to secure a berth in the Olympic Games competition, Bhavani Devi scored a 15-7 victory over C Jose Josna (Kerala) in the final late on Saturday night.

Earlier, Bhavani Devi lost no time in defeating Jaspreet Kaur (Jammu and Kashmir) 15-2 in her opening pool match but had to beat back a stiff challenge from Telangana's Baby Reddy before winning 15-14 to get through to the quarterfinals where she trounced Jagmeet Kaur (Punjab) 15-7.

In the semifinals, Bhavani Devi dominated K Anitha in a 15-4 verdict. PTI PDS PDS ATK ATK