Bhavani Devi mother to accompany her to Tokyo: CA Bhavani Devi, the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics, will have her mother accompanying her as the “team manager”. Devi will compete in the individual sabre fencing event and can now fully focus on her techniques since she wouldn’t lack motivation when it comes to performing at her maiden Olympic Games. Similarly, table tennis player Manika Batra will also have her “personal coach” for guidance during her training sessions and matches in Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to start from July 23.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has named Devi’s mother, CA Sundhararaman Ramani – wife of priest Anandha Sundharam – in the four-member fencing contingent. The 27-year-old became the first fencer to qualify for 2021 Olympics via Adjusted Official Ranking method.
Devi’s journey to the Olympics has not been an easy one. The family had to battle financial crisis and at one point her mother had to pawn her jewellery to keep her daughter on track to realise her dream.
Despite dealing with the death of her father in 2019, and her mother’s hospitalisation due to COVID-19 later, Devi continued to chase her Olympic dream, she managed to seal her spot at the Fencing World Cup last year. More on Bhavani Devi here.
In the case of Batra, her coach and practice partner, Pune-based Sanmay Paranjape, has been accommodated in the Tokyo-bound officials’ list as the star’s personal coach. She is part of the six-member TT squad, comprising of men’s singles players G Sathiyan and Achanta Sharath Kamal (also pairing up with Batra in the mixed doubles). So far, only Batra, who is the first Indian woman to win a singles gold at the Commonwealth Games, has been accorded the privilege having her personla coach present at the Olympics.
In March 2019, the Indian paddler, who likes to remain calm and composed to be mentally fit and in the right frame of mind, had described Paranjape as her “practice partner”, TOI reported. She is also the first woman player from India to break into the top 50 (career-best of 47 and currently ranked 62).
As reported by TOI, the women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will not have any coach accompanying them. It’s been learned that six-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom’s personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav has been named in the list and the star wrestler Vinesh Phogat’s foreign coach has been named in the contingent. In the latest change to the wrestling officials contingent, physiotherapist Brajesh Kumar’s name has been added to the list as an extra official. Practicing with a dummy, read how Bhavani Devi works out at home here.
Feature Image Credit: Bhavani Devi/Instagram