Fencer Bhavani Devi clears clouds of doubt over competing in Asian Olympic qualifier

Image: CA Bhavani Devi Twitter/X

India’s top Sabre fencer CA Bhavani Devi cleared doubts clouds that were forming over her competing in the Asian Olympic qualification tournament in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates on April 27 and 28. The absence of her name from the list of entries as of Monday morning raised eyebrows.

It was surprising to not see Bhavani Devi’s name among eight fencers in the list of entries posted on the FIE website. For, at No. 33, she is the highest ranked Asian in the women’s sabre event from nations that have not qualified anyone through either the team or individual ranking as of March 17.

Bhavani Devi indicated on Monday afternoon that the Fencing Association of India would ensure that her entry is sent and accepted by the International Fencing Federation (FIE). She was responding to a question if she was skipping the competition after having failed to make it to the Olympic Games as one of the two fencers from the Asia Oceania zone.

South Korea and Ukraine finished among the top four on the FIE Olympic Team rankings for women’s sabre. Japan was the third team in the Asia & Oceania in the top 16. One Chinese and one Uzbekistan fencer got berths with the two best individual ranks from nations other than those who had attained team qualification.

Late on Monday, the FIE website updated the women’s sabre entries to include Bhavani Devi’s name. Australia’s Veronika Vasileva, ranked 14 slots below the Indian, is expected to be her main competitor in the nine-woman draw. Only one of these will get a ticket to Paris from the Olympic Games competition.

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