Indian fencing’s torch-bearer CA Bhavani Devi made history on Monday, bagging the country’s first-ever medal at the Asian Fencing Championships. The Chennai Olympian won a bronze at the prestigious tournament being held in Wuxi, China this year. Bhavani stunned World No. 1 Misaki Emura of Japan 15-10 in the women’s sabre quarterfinals to guarantee India’s maiden medal at the event.
The 29-year-old Bhavani edged past Dospay Karina of Kazakhstan 15-13 in the round of 32 before getting the better of World No. 40 and third seed Seri Ozaki of Japan 15-11 in the pre-quarterfinal match-up.
She went one step ahead and beat the reigning world champion Misaki in the quarterfinals - her first win over the Japanese in four meetings - before suffering a narrow 15-14 loss to Uzbekistan’s Zaynab Deyibekova. Talking about her successful run, Bhavani said: “Sometimes we forget the rankings of the opponents and look at them simply as fencers. I knew my match against Misaki would be tough, but I was desperate to fight and reach the podium. For that I changed my strategy and found the right distance, timing and movement. All that worked really well.” Bhavani was expecting to make the final, but fell agonizingly close. But this bronze will boost her confidence to bring laurels to the country.