Bhavani Devi settles for bronze, becomes first Indian fencer to win medal in Asian C’ships

New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI) Olympian C A Bhavani Devi on Monday created history by
securing India’s first-ever medal, a bronze after losing in the semifinal of the women’s sabre event at the Asian Fencing Championships in Wuxi, China.

Bhavani lost to Uzbekistan’s Zaynab Dayibekova in a hard-fought semifinals 14-15, but ensured India its maiden medal in the prestigious event.

Bhavani had earlier stunned reigning world champion Misaki Emura of Japan 15-10 in the quarterfinals to script history.

Misaki had won the women’s sabre gold medal at the 2022 World Fencing Championships held in Cairo.

It was Bhavani’s first win over Misaki as she had lost all her matches against the Japanese in the past.

The 29-year-old Bhavani had received a bye in the round of 64 before beating Dospay Karina of Kazakhstan in the next round.

Bhavani then upset third seed Ozaki Seri 15-11 in the pre-quarterfinals.

Fencing Association of India secretary-general Rajeev Mehta congratulated Bhavani on her historic achievement.

“It is a very proud day for Indian fencing. Bhavani has achieved what no one could achieve before. She is the first Indian fencer to win a medal at the prestigious Asian Championships. On behalf of the entire fencing fraternity, I congratulate her,” Mehta told PTI.

“Although she lost in the semifinal, the contest was very close. It was a matter of just point. So it’s a big improvement.”

Bhavani Devi, who became the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics, exited in the round of 32 at the Tokyo Games.