India’s national fencing squad have all but failed to secure a quota for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, after their campaign ended in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Asian Olympic qualifier tournament, in Tashkent. The only Indian to have qualified for the quadrennial event is CA Bhavani Devi.
Fencing in India was granted a new lease when CA Bhavani Devi qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Indian to achieve the rare feat. Still basking in the hangover, the Indian squad was also aiming for similar recognition but failed to secure a quota for the Games after their campaign ended in the quarter-finals of the ongoing Asian Olympic qualifier tournament, in Tashkent.
“Since it was one last chance to make the cut for the Olympics, the players wilted under pressure. Instead of staying calm and playing their natural game the fencers became a bit error prone that spoiled their chances,” said a national level coach, to IANS.
The tournament, which offered six quotas for the Tokyo-based event, was India’s last chance to secure berths. Two fencers – Sunil Kumar and Radhia Avati - made the quarter-finals of the qualifiers, while the other three in contention perished much before to draw curtains on their hopes.
“Sunil gave a good account of himself in the epee event. He was leading in his quarterfinal match but lost three vital points in the closing stages of the tournament to bow out. We were expecting Karan Singh to reach the semis of the men’s sabre event. But he too went out early in the Asian tournament,” added the source.