Out of Italy, fencer Bhavani now unearths a dummy spouse | More sports activities News


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CHENNAI: Not too long ago, fencer Bhavani Devi was in Livorno in Italy, training under her coach Nicola Zanotti, trying to prepare her bid for an Olympic berth. She left Italy in late February when Covid 19 was breaking out in the country and now the 26-year-old is in Chennai, trying to find innovative methods to keep the competitive juices flowing.

“Livorno remained largely unaffected when the coronavirus first hit the country. But Italy has been my second home for a while now and all that has happened in the country is distressing. I stay in touch with my coach on a regular basis to get updates about the situation and I am being told it is under control,” Bhavani told TOI.

Even as the conditions in Italy remain a worry for the Chennai girl, she has to maintain her focus and carry on with her training. With no sparring partners available, the 26-year-old has created a “dummy partner” to create a feel of competition. “I felt the space on my terrace was perfect to create a dummy. I already had two concrete slabs at home and placed two bricks below them. My fencing kit bag was hoisted over the slab. My fencing mesh, made of stainless steel, was then placed on top of it,” Bhavani explained the innovative methods she used to create the dummy.

Bhavani trains with her dummy partner thrice a week and is pleased with the progress she is making. “I got this temporary arrangement done a few days ago and it is of the right height for me to train with. It is nice to get the feel of sparring with a partner. Before this, I was having sessions where I only imagined practising with someone,” Bhavani said.

She begins the day with high-intensity workouts. The evenings are kept specifically for yoga and meditation. “Yoga and meditation calm me after the intense training sessions in the first half of the day. Also, staying at home has a big plus since I get the best possible food,” said Bhavani.

In her bid to be mentally strong, Bhavani attended a session with experienced sports psychologist Divya Jain. “I am thankful that the GoSports foundation facilitated it. The session highlighted on aspects of mental well-being and how to keep stress away during this period,” said Bhavani.

Apart from her regular set of workouts and meditation routines, Bhavani also finds time to indulge in other sporting activities. “I play badminton regularly as it provides me with intense physical activity,” she said. Bhavani, who is at the cusp of becoming the first ever Indian fencer to make the Olympics cut, believes it may take a few months before things return to normalcy. “This is the time for me to work on my weaknesses and remain injury-free. Whenever there is an announcement for the next set of competitions, I hope to be ready both physically and mentally,” Bhavani said.


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