Teenage Indian fencer Taniksha Khatri claims major upset win at Doha Grand Prix
18-year-old Taniksha Khatri makes her mark in a major international fencing tournament, defeating opponents placed hundreds of spots above her.
Taniksha Khatri scored a major win for Indian fencing at the Doha Grand Prix on Sunday. The 18-year-old, ranked 664 in the world, defeated world number 20 Jacques Andre Coquin before finishing 31st out of 124 fencers at the women's epee section.
Taniksha went down fighting 14-15 to Guzzi Vincenti Margh (WR 86) to bow out at the T32 stage. She fought hard throughout the match and came back from 12-14 to level it at 14-14.
Taniksha, the right-handed fencer, broke into the top 100 of the junior section last year. She has been eligible for senior rankings for the last two years, but she has not progressed into the top 600. She has won national epee championships within the country in the past.
Earlier on Saturday, Indian star fencer Bhavani Devi, the country's only Olympic representative in this sport, finished 58th out of 137 fencers in the Fencing World Cup in Bulgaria (Sabre).
While fencing is in the 'general' category among disciplines in India, the sports ministry has identified fencing as one of the 14 disciplines to be developed as medal prospects, keeping in mind the 2024 and 2028 Olympics and beyond.
While there is talent, the sport has been held back due to a shortage of competitions. Bhavani has managed to train abroad while participating in international competitions with the help of sponsors. Taniksha's moment of glory in Doha is a sign that others are on the right track.