Asian Games: Fencer Bhavani Devi ousted in quarters, blames referee
The seasoned Indian fencer complained that the official didn’t take her claim into account after a 7-15 loss to China’s Shao Yaqi in the Asian Games
India’s bright fencing medal hope Bhavani Devi blamed her elimination in the quarterfinals of the women’s sabre event on refereeing errors which she said led to a loss of focus against China’s Shao Yaqi in the Asian Games on Tuesday.
Bhavani Devi, who gained nationwide attention after becoming the first Indian fencer to qualify for the Olympics at Tokyo and also landed a first for the country by claiming bronze in this year’s Asian championships, reeled off victories in her earlier rounds, but lost 7-15 to Shao as the 30-year-old's medal hope was dashed. (FOLLOW | Asian Games 2023 Live Updates, Day 3)
In the pool bouts, Bhavani beat Saudi Arabia’s Alhsna Abdulrahman 5-1, Kazakhstan’s Karina Dospay 5-3, Zaynab Dayibekova of Uzbekistan 5-1 and Bangladesh’s Roksana Khatun 5-1. In the pre-quarters, she got the better of Thailand’s Tonkhaw Phokaew 15-9.
Bhavani, who never led against Shao, trailed 2-3 early and slipped to 3-8 at the end of the first period. Though she raised a glimmer of fighting back after getting to 5-10 midway through the second period, the host fencer was eight points ahead when the bout ended.
The seasoned Indian fencer though blamed poor officiating for the reverse.
“I didn’t agree with the referee’s decision on the first few points. At the first point, when I asked for a video referral, he got angry, which was surprising. It was a quarter-final, so I told myself to focus on the next touch,” she said after the bout.
“There were a few touches on the first five points. I don’t know why he awarded the point to the opponent on one parry riposte (counterattack). He said it is not a parry riposte, it’s an attack from her (Shao). I was quite upset.
“I know she is a strong fencer. She may not move very well if you look at her from the outside, but she is one of the strongest fencers in the world. She gauges the distance well and her timing is good too,” Bhavani said.
“I was feeling very good today and had worked so hard for the Asian Games. When he (referee) did that, I got upset and lost control of the match. She accumulated so many points that it was difficult for me to come back and focus on the strategies. Sabre is so quick that you cannot control everything.”