By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 19 (ANI): Fencer Bhavani Devi, who scripted history by becoming the first fencer from India to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, said she started dreaming of the Olympics after 2012 London Games.
"When I started the sport, it was just for fun. I enjoyed playing the sport. I lost my first competition and didn't get any medal but my friends got medals. So, that actually pushed me to work hard and get medals so that is how my journey started from state level to international level," Devi told ANI.
"I started dreaming of the Olympics after London 2012. I dreamt about going to the Olympics and representing India, but I didn't know how to achieve that goal because at that time fencing wasn't popular. In the beginning it was tough to arrange money for the competition. Everything was to be done by me and it was hard for me to do everything and at the beginning, only my family supported me but still, I didn't have any proper guidance.
"But later from 2015, I started getting support from different sources and the federation also got money from the government so they also started supporting and I started to work on my Tokyo Olympics dream," she added.
Devi also stated that she had to put in extra efforts than her competitors as she lacked experience in the sport in the beginning.
"I spoke to an Italian coach so made a plan about how to reach Olympics. We competed in every tournament and we trained very hard. He always mentioned that since I lack experience in the past, I didn't compete in many junior level tournaments, so I don't have that experience. I started playing more in senior-level so the difference between senior and junior is huge, you can't compare the level," she said.
"So, I had to put in extra work into my training than other competitors... I am now very happy that I have finally arrived at this position. This was only possible with the support of different sources. It is not only by myself, it was with the support of my family, friends and also government because now they have taken steps to promote and develop all kinds of sport in the country," Devi added.
After achieving her goal of qualifying for the Olympics, Devi has vowed to give her best at the event. "I am hoping that all Indians will watch my match and I will definitely give my best performance in the competition," she said.
When asked if training in Europe helped her book an Olympic berth, she said: "Europe has fencing for 100 years, I think even more than that. So, they know how to make a plan on how to arrive to a certain level. Everyone fences in their different style and they know it very well. I think it worked with me and my coach also helped me a lot because since he had that experience so he could connect with me easily because it also depends on the culture of sports. I come from a family where there is no sports background. So, for me, each and every experience was new. I learnt something from every experience." (ANI)