Predictions: What can we expect from Indian fencer Bhavani Devi at Tokyo Olympics?
She will get one chance to progress through and will be up against some of the toughest women's sabre fencers in the world.
By now, most readers of the Bridge would be sick to death of our constant reiteration of why Fencing and Bhavani Devi deserve importance and recognition. But we shall persist with it for some more time. Another take that we bring to the table is what to expect from India's ace fencer at the Olympics. It is time to understand facts and leaving out the sentiment behind her qualification, one must analyse the realistic chances and expectations of India in Fencing.
At the outset, it is important to mention that Bhavani Devi is ranked 42nd in the world currently. She has seen a meteoric rise in her rank since last year but is currently only in the top 50 with a total points tally of 37.00. To put a perspective into play, the world's top 15 women's sabre fencers all have a total accumulation of points above 100. Amongst the top 15, Olga Kharlan is number 1 with a total points tally of 297. She is out to claim an elusive individual Gold Medal after missing out on the same at Rio and will be a player to watch out for in Bhavani Devi's event. To add to it, Manon Brunet will also be vying for a podium finish this time and is the World No. 3 fencer heading into the Olympics. American Ann Elizabeth Stone, Hungarian Liza Pusztai and South Korean Jiyeon Kim are all fencers to look out for as well.
Women's sabre will begin with the Round of 32 and follow a knock out based system. Bhavani Devi will hopefully be drawn against a relatively lower ranked fencer in the first round. A win here will see her progress through with immense confidence to the next round. She is already a history maker and we are proud of all that she has achieved for herself, her parents and the country. History shall be made again if she manages to win her first match but beyond that it will be interesting to see how she fares against the top sabre fencers in the world.