Bhavani Devi made history a few days ago when she became the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics. Ranked 45th in the world, Bhavani Devi will compete in the sabre category of fencing.
Fencing is a sport that is neither popular nor well established in India, and that has made it more difficult for Bhavani to reach where she has. For most of the last five years, she has been staying away from friends and family in Chennai to train with her coach in Italy. 2020 was hard as Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown and Bhavani had to return to Chennai. She re-started training in November.
All about sabre fencing
If fencing is new to you but you’d like to watch Bhavani play at the Olympics, here are the basic rules that will help you understand the sport:
- Sabre, foil and epee are three weapons used in the three main types of fencing. Each weapon is designed different and rules of play are also different.
- The sabre is a flat blade weighing less than half a kilo and the player can make a hit (touch the opponent) with any part of the blade.
- It is the fastest of the sword events, requiring split-second timing
- The sabre player can only target the opponent’s head, arms and the body above the waist. Hits made anywhere else don’t count for points.
- According to the ‘right-of-way’ rule, points are not always awarded to the fencer who hits first. Instead, the point will be awarded to the fencer who makes the best planned attack.