C.A. Bhavani Devi is a renowned Indian sabre(fencer). She is the first Indian women fencer who was selected for the 202o Tokyo Olympic Games. In 2018, at the Senior Commonwealth Fencing Championship, she created history by winning the gold medal in sabre(fencing) in Canberra, Australia. She won two other gold medals- one at Tuscany Cup, Italy, in 2014 and another at the Commonwealth Championship, Jersey, in 2012, in sabre(fencing). The ‘Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme’ under GoSports Foundation, a Sports association in Bengaluru, Karnataka, supports the sports career of C.A. Bhavani Devi through scholarship.
C. A. Bhavani Devi was born as Bhavani Devi on Friday, 27 August 1993 (age 29 years; as of 2022) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The Bridge Her zodiac sign is Virgo. Bhavani did her schooling at Muruga Dhanushkodi Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The Bridge She earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the Government Brennen College, Thalassery in Kerala. She pursued MBA at St Joseph’s Engineering College in Chennai. Bhavani Devi Biography
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Weight (approx.): 60 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name was C Anandha Sundhararaman, who was a priest.
Her mother’s name is C A Ramani, and she is a homemaker.
She has two brothers named Suresh Kumar (an investment advisor) and Ganesh Ram (lawyer).
She has two elder sisters. The name of one of her sisters is Renuka, and she is a lawyer.
C A Bhavani Devi started practising fencing when she was studying at Muruga Dhanushkodi Girls’ Higher Secondary School in 2004. According to Bhavani Devi, when she got admission in sixth class, she was given six sports options to choose from including fencing. She revealed in an interview that when she joined her class, all other sports options were already occupied by other students, and she was left with fencing only. She explained,
When I joined class VI to the new 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 that a sport called fencing exist and in India then. It was a very new sport, especially to Tamilnadu. The sport itself is an inspiration. It gives me happiness and motivates to be better every day.”
In 2004, C A Bhavani Devi started playing her national fencing tournaments at Madhya Pradesh, India. Soon, she started receiving her professional sabre(fencing) training at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, India. After completing her secondary school education, C A Bhavani Devi joined the Sports Authority of India Centre in Thalassery, Kerala, India.
In 2007, Bhavani Devi played her first international tournament cadet at Junior World Fencing Championship in Turkey. In 2014, C A Bhavani Devi won an individual silver medal in the Under-23 Asian Championship organised in the Philippines. In 2015, C A Bhavani Devi won two Individual bronze medals in international tournaments. She played the Under-23 Asian Championship organised at Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar, and in the same year, she played at the Flemish Open championship held in Belgium and won these bronze medals.
In 2017, C A Bhavani Devi won the Women Fencing World Cup Championship held at Reykjavik, Iceland, and upon winning this, she became the first Indian women fencer to win the gold medal in Individual Sabre World Cup. On winning this event, C A Bhavani Devi exclaimed,
I would say, winning the title of individual sabre at the 2017 World Cup event in Reykjavik, Iceland is the most memorable day in my life.”
In 2019, C A Bhavani Devi won an individual silver medal in the Tournoi Satellite Fencing Competition held in Belgium, and in the same year, she earned a bronze medal in the Tournoi Satellite Fencing Competition organised in Iceland, Europe.
C A Bhavani Devi won several Individual medals in the youth fencing championships. She earned eight individual titles in sabre(fencing). In 2020, Bhavani Devi got selected for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 through AOR (Adjusted Official ranking); however, the tournaments were cancelled due to the breakdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Bhavani Devi lost to world no. 3 Manon Brunet in the round of 32 women’s sabre fencing individual events in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. On 19 June 2023, she secured India’s first-ever medal, a bronze, at the Asian fencing championships in Wuxi, China. The Hindu
- 2018: Gold in Commonwealth Fencing Championship, Australia
- 2017: Gold in Tournoi satellite WC Fencing competition, Iceland
- 2014: Gold in Tuscany Cup, Italy
- 2019: Silver in Tournoi satellite WC Fencing competition, Belgium
- 2018: Silver in Tournoi satellite WC Fencing competition, Iceland
- 2014: Silver in under 23 Asian Championship, Philippines
- 2012: Team Silver in Junior Commonwealth Championship, Jersey
- 2019: Bronze in Tournoi satellite WC Fencing competition, Iceland
- 2023: Bronze at the Asian fencing championships in Wuxi, China
- 2018: Bronze in Tournoi satellite WC Fencing competition, Iceland
- 2015: Bronze in Flemish Open, Belgium
- 2015: Bronze in under 23 Asian Championship, Mongolia
- 2012: Bronze in Junior Commonwealth Championship, Jersey
- 2010: Team Bronze in International Open, Thailand
- 2010: Team Bronze in Cadet Asian Fencing Championship, Philippines
- 2009: Team Bronze in Junior Commonwealth Championship, Malaysia
- 2021: Arjuna Award
- According to C A Bhavani Devi, her first national fencing event was in 2007, and it was the first time when she began using fencing electronic equipment to play the game until then she practised fencing with bamboo sticks at home. In her initial days of practising, C A Bhavani Devi got her training under the hot sun, when other international players were trained at the indoor stadiums with their electronic swords and equipment. As per C A Bhavani Devi, when she started practising fencing, she often borrowed fencing swords and equipment from her co-players as Bhavani’s parents were not able to purchase this costly equipment. In her biography, C A Bhavani Devi mentioned her sports philosophy,
Success won’t come in a day. You have to be patient and continue to work hard. More importantly, you must crave and love your sport.”
- According to Bhavani Devi, her mother inspired her a lot to pursue her fencing career. In an interview, Bhavani expressed her feelings that her mother tried very hard to arrange money for Bhavani’s national tournaments, and she was very supportive and motivational. Bhavani stated,
My mother influenced me the most in my fencing career. She has been supportive and has faced hardships to fulfil my dreams. She worked arduous to find sponsors and gather funds from the government for me to participate in international tournaments.”
- C A Bhavani Devi won her first individual sabre(fencing) gold medal when she was 12 years old. This was Sub-junior National Championships at Chennai.
- According to Bhavani Devi, when she played her first international tournament cadet at Junior World Fencing Championship in Turkey in 2007, she was only fifteen years old. In her biography, Bhavani said that it was difficult for her family to arrange money to buy fencing equipment and bear her international travelling expenses. She further stated in her biography that her mother borrowed money from relatives and family friends to bore her playing expenses. She narrated,
I missed a lot of international events as my family couldn’t afford the travel expenses. Still, my mother was not ready to give up. She tried her level best to let me attend the event either by taking loans or borrowing money.”
- According to C A Bhavani Devi, it was difficult for her to communicate in English with athletes of other countries when she visited abroad for her international fencing tournaments. She further expressed that she went through a lot of hardships when the people in her society, in India, forced her parents to stop Bhavani to participate in games internationally. She spelt out,
I had faced a lot of challenges in the initial days while travelling alone. I was not fluent in English then. Finding the pre-booked hotels and communicating with people was a tedious task. Also, a lot of people asked my parents to stop me from going alone to participate in international events but I was not ready to give up.”
- In 2015, upon winning two bronze medals, one at Flemish Open, Belgium and the other in under 23 Asian Championship, Mongolia, the then Tamilnadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa, presented C A Bhavani Devi, a purse, worth Rs 3 Lakh and an elite scheme scholarship for her extraordinary performance in both championships. On this occasion, in an interview, Bhavani exclaimed,
I am very happy that the Chief Minister has provided the elite scheme scholarship until 2020. I can stay relaxed on financial issues but at the same time, I have the responsibility to utilise it in a smart way to achieve good results.”
- In 2015, C A Bhavani Devi was chosen for the regular scholarships and training under ‘the Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme,’ under ‘GoSports Foundation.’ She was selected after winning the two bronze medals, one at the Flemish Open, Belgium and the other in the under 23 Asian Championship, Mongolia. Under this program, Bhavani Devi became one of the fifteen athletes who were already a part of this program. While receiving this opportunity, Bhavani said,
When I thought about quitting the sport, fortunately, I got selected for the Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Program by Gosports Foundation.”
- In an interview, C A Bhavani Devi revealed her sports idols both in fencing and in other sports. She said,
When it comes to fencing, the US fencer Mariel Zagunis is my idol. Also, I get inspiration from tennis ace Sania Mirza, Serena Williams and all women achievers in the field of sport.”
- According to C A Bhavani Devi, she was practising sabre fencing under Italian coach Mr Nicola Zanotti since 2016. In an interview, Bhavani said that she spent most of her time in Italy to get trained under Mr Zanotti. She said,
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.”
- In 2019, C A Bhavani Devi won a silver medal in the Tournoi satellite World Cup Fencing competition in Belgium. After winning this tournament, she got the opportunity to meet Kiren Rijiju, an Indian lawyer and politician from Arunachal Pradesh.
- Bhavani Devi is a fitness enthusiast as she is a sportsperson. She often posts her pictures on her social media account while at the gym.
- In 2020, C A Bhavani Devi got selected for the Tokyo Olympics in sabre(fencing). Amul India, a dairy brand in India, featured a cartoon image of Bhavani Devi in an Indian local English newspaper.
- In September 2020, Dr Kiran Bedi launched the official website of Bhavani Devi, and Bhavani announced the name of her website on her social media account.
- C A Bhavani Devi is an animal lover. She has a pet cat. Bhavani often post pictures of her pet cat on her social media account.
- In 2020, C A Bhavani Devi participated in The Pink Movement Initiative. This movement was initiated to promote women power in India. Around the same time, a song titled ‘Subah’ based on this movement was also released. The cover page of this song featured C A Bhavani Devi, along with other renowned women of India. This initiative gave Indian women a platform to speak and explore their achievements along with the struggles they made to find their own identity.
- C A Bhavani Devi has often seen motivating young and budding sportspersons in India at various Indian educational institutions.
- In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India, Bhavani Devi was seen practising fencing at her home terrace. In an interview with a media house, she said that she was doing the basic fitness workout and fencing footwork practice at home. She explained,
I am doing basic fitness and fencing work to be ready physically and mentally when things resume. I am doing my basic fitness at our terrace. Using few dumbbell pairs and most of the exercises are own body weight. For fencing, I am doing footwork and target practice using my fencing kitbag.”
- According to Bhavani Devi, her training routine for a competition differs from her daily fencing practice routine. In an interview with a media house, Bhavani said that before the competition, she did small matches, for five points, with other fencers, along with a light warm-up, with the coach. She further added that her fencing match competitions started at 9 am in the morning till 5 pm in the evening. She narrated,
During a competition, one day before my event, I’ll do a light warm-up with the coach. I’ll go to the arena and stretch a little bit to get a feel of the venue. On the day of the competition, we do a long warm-up. Competition days are long, we start at around 9 am and rounds go till 4 or 5 pm. We get enough breaks. But in the beginning, if we do it, it still helps till the end of the day. I prefer to do a long warm-up. Before the competition, I do small matches, for five points, with other fencers. Five minutes before my matches, I go to my piste and try to imagine what I need to do during the match and against a particular opponent.”
- In an interview, C A Bhavani Devi revealed her pass time activities amid the COVID-19 lockdown in India. She said,
Yes, I’ve watched all the latest Tamil movies, which I haven’t for a long time. I also try to do some reading.”
- In 2021, Bhavani Devi got officially selected for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She became the first Indian women fencer who got selected to represent India in Olympics. In a video interview with a media house, Bhavani Devi expressed her happiness for being selected for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 along with her struggles in life.
- According to Bhavani Devi, in school, she chose fencing as a sports option to get rid of the classes. In an interview, she spelt out,
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.”
- C A Bhavani Devi’s national coach is Sagar Lagu, and her personal coach is Nicola Zanotti. Bhavani is a right-hander. Bhavani spends most of her time practising and training sabre(fencing) in Livorno, Italy. She knows English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil languages. FIE
- On 27 June 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Indian fencer Bhavani Devi on his Sunday radio show “Mann Ki Baat” when she got selected for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. He said,
C.A. Bhavani Devi, her name is Bhavani and she is adroit at fencing. Bhavani, who hails from Chennai, is the first Indian fencer to qualify in the Olympics. I was reading somewhere that in order for Bhavani ji’s training to continue, her mother had even mortgaged her jewellery.”
Glad to learn that #MyLovableKIITian @IamBhavaniDevi's story was shared on 'Mann Ki Baat' today by Shri @NarendraModi ji, Hon'ble Prime Minister of India. Wishing her best for Olympics 2020. pic.twitter.com/KOqL8d8GVb
— Achyuta Samanta (@achyuta_samanta) June 27, 2021
- In 2021, C A Bhavani Devi was appointed as the Goodwill Ambassador of the World’s first Safety Lifestyle brand ‘MY.’
- C A Bhavani Devi is a student of KIIT, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology. She is pursuing her correspondence studies from this institute. In March 2021, KIIT honoured Bhavani Devi with accolades for her selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
- Bhavani Devi has a tattoo engraved on her left hand. She engraved this tattoo before flying to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
- According to Bhavani Devi, her favourite fencer was Aldo Montano of Italy and Mariel Zagunis of the USA. In an interview, she spelt out,
My favourite fencers…. In fact, there are many – Aldo Montano of Italy (2004 Olympics Games gold in men’s sabre, Mariel Zagunis of USA (2004 and 2008 Olympics individual gold) and Sofia Velikaya from Russia (2016 Rio Olympics team sabre gold medallist).”
- C A Bhavani Devi met Novak Djokovic in July 2021. In a conversation with a media house, she exclaimed her experience after meeting him and told the advice Novak Djokovic gave her. She said,
In order to be a champion, it is imperative to enter any competition brimming with self-confidence and hard work. He cited his own example and said that during his initial years, he kept going down to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but he kept fighting. It was only later on in his career that he learnt to keep his mind calm and control only what was possible.”