India’s C.A. Bhavani Devi made history on Saturday by becoming the first Indian to win the gold medal in the senior Commonwealth fencing championship held in Canberra. Bhavani participated in the sabre event.
The Chennai-born fencer beat England’s Emily Ruaux 15-12 after a semifinal win over Scotland’s Catriona Thomson.
The fencer, who also trains in the Sports Authority of India in Kannur, has been training in Italy for the last few years.
Sagar Lagu, her coach in SAI Kannur, was overjoyed with his ward’s performance and said it is India’s greatest achievement in the sport. “The best trait of Bhavani is her never-say-die attitude. Although she didn’t taste success as much as she wanted to in recent years, she never lost hope and was never demotivated,” he said.
Lagu who followed Bhavani’s every move in the Commonwealth championship said he was amazed at how she dominated every round. “It is by no means any exaggeration to say she dominated the whole tournament. Her movements caught my eye. She was agile and very calculative. Although the England player gave a good fight, Bhavani always had the upper hand,” he noted.
The coach said Bhavani’s decision to move to Italy has paid rich dividends. “Her game has tremendously improved. That’s because she is now participating in more tournaments. Earlier it used to be tough to travel for every tournament from India and she was missing out on much-needed match practice. But now it is different. She is dominating the scene like never before,” he added.
Bhavani had earlier this year won a silver medal in the Tournoi Satellite Fencing Championship in Iceland also became the first Indian to win gold at the World Cup satellite tournament in Reykjavik.