Personal Information

Residence Chennai, IND

Occupation Athlete

Languages English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil

Higher education Business Administration - Government Brennen College: Thalassery, IND

License number 27081993000


Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport? She began fencing in 2004 at school in Chennai, India. She fenced with bamboo sticks until her first national event used electronic equipment. "[At school] they gave me six sport options including fencing. All the other options were filled by the time I joined and I was left with fencing. It sounded new to me and I was eager to try it. Many didn't even know fencing existed in India then. It was a very new sport, especially to Tamil Nadu."

Why this sport? "Initially I chose fencing to get away from classes in school. But when I lost my first competition, I was determined to win. The sport itself is an inspiration. It gives me happiness and motivates to be better every day."

Name of coach Sagar Lagu [national], IND; Nicola Zanotti [personal], ITA

Training Regime She spends part of the year training in Livorno, Italy.

Handedness Right

General Interest

Memorable sporting achievement Winning gold in individual sabre at the 2017 World Cup event in Reykjavik, Iceland. (espn.in, 03 Jun 2017)

Most influential person in career Her mother CA Ramani. "She has been supportive and has faced hardships to fulfil my dreams." (bhavanidevi.com, 24 Mar 2020; newindianexpress.com, 19 Sep 2018)

Hero / Idol US fencer Mariel Zagunis and tennis players Sania Mirza from India and Serena Williams from the United States of America. (bhavanidevi.com, 24 Mar 2020; ibnlive.in.com, 06 May 2013)

Sporting philosophy / motto "Success won't come in a day. You have to be patient and continue to work really hard. More importantly, you must crave and love your sport." (beboldpeople.com, 04 Nov 2016)

Milestones In May 2017 she became the first Indian fencer to win gold at a World Cup event when she triumphed in individual sabre at an event in Reykjavik, Iceland. (SportsDeskOnline, 09 Jul 2018)

Ambitions To win gold at the Olympic Games. (scroll.in, 30 Apr 2018; Facebook page, 28 Dec 2020)

Other information CHOOSING SABRE
She says she focused on the sabre discipline because she enjoys the speed of competition. "When I was explained the sport at first, I was told sabre was the fastest among the three disciplines of fencing. It's a discipline where we move fast and hit the opponents first, or if the opponent attacks first you have to defend quickly. I actually started doing epee because at my first competition in school, they already had enough players in the other disciplines. I lost. After that I started to take an interest in foil and sabre. The second fastest discipline is the foil, so I chose both foil and sabre in the beginning. I still love competing in foil, but after competing in the discipline for four-and-a-half years, India's fencing federation made a rule that one fencer can only compete in one event. So I chose sabre, which I always wanted to do." (firstpost.com, 24 Aug 2020)

In 2016 she moved to Livorno, Italy, to work with coach Nicola Zanotti. She had previously trained with coach Edward Korfanty at the Oregon Fencing Alliance in the United States of America in 2014. "Getting trained abroad helped me to improve my fencing skills, apart from making me a better person. Training with the best athletes has been a learning experience for me. I got to know how they take success and failures and prepare for competitions. I have a very good relationship [with Zanotti] so I can understand what he's teaching me. I was always good at adapting to new situations. That helped me to understand the Italian style of fencing, which is a very tactical form of sabre. It's difficult to learn but I was able to learn it quickly." (indiatimes.com, 16 Sep 2020; bhavanidevi.com, 24 Mar 2020; gofundme.com, 02 Apr 2015)

She said she thought about quitting the sport due to the costs of equipment and travelling, until she was selected for a scholarship from the GoSports Foundation in 2015. "My family had spent a lot of money. There were several businesspeople who also came forward to sponsor me, but still the equipment expense is very high and I was tired of organising all those things. Then GoSports Foundation selected me under their scholarship scheme called Rahul Dravid Mentorship Program. When I went for the interview, I never thought I would get the scholarship because fencing was not a popular sport. I decided that if I didn't get the scholarship, I would stay back home [in Chennai] and stop fencing." (hindustantimes.com, 07 Sep 2020; firstpost.com, 24 Aug 2020)

She earned a master of business administration [MBA] from St. Joseph's College of Engineering in Chennai, India, after gaining a bachelor's degree in business administration from Government Brennen College in Thalassery. (bhavanidevi.com, 24 Mar 2020; Facebook profile, 19 Dec 2020)


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