Tokyo Olympics: Fencer Bhavani Devi exits after 2nd round defeat

She lost to world number three and Rio Olympic semifinalist Manon Brunet.

Bhavani Devi’s Olympic debut in the women’s individual sabre event ended in a second-round loss, but the Indian pioneering fencer bowed out of the Tokyo Games with great promise on Monday.

Bhavani, the country’s first fencer to qualify for Olympics, started her campaign with a strong 15-3 win over Tunisia’s Nadia Ben Azizi, but she ran into world number three and Rio Olympic semifinalist Manon Brunet in the next round, losing 7-15.

Bhavani’s aggression earned her points against Azizi, but French Brunet used all of her experience to counteract the Indian’s techniques, which cost her two points for leaving the arena. The Indians only managed one point in each of the first two quarters but rallied in the third. Brunet was razor-sharp and has superior technique as she scored points from afar.

Bhavani needed nothing short of a sensational performance in the final round after losing 2-8 in the third, but Brunet mostly stayed untroubled in the nine-minute and 48-second encounter.

However, Bhavani of Chennai was the better player in the first round, taking advantage of Azizi’s open stance, which allowed her to collect points swiftly.

Bhavani did not allow a single point in the first three minutes of the game, racing to an 8-0 lead over Tunisia. Nadia got a few touches in the second phase, but the Indian maintained her lead and won the match in six minutes and fourteen seconds.

The winner is the fencer who reaches the 15-point mark first.

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