Tokyo Olympics 2020: Fencer Bhavani Devi training with Italian national team; to get COVID-19 vaccines in Italy

To prepare for her historic appearance at Tokyo 2020 Olympics, fencer Bhavani Devi is training with the Italian national team. She is likely to fly to Tokyo from Italy itself after getting her COVID-19 vaccination done in the European nation.

Amit Kamath May 12, 2021 21:18:45 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Fencer Bhavani Devi training with Italian national team; to get COVID-19 vaccines in Italy

File image of Bhavani Devi training on the terrace of her house during the nation-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Image courtesy: Bhavani Devi

Ahead of her historic appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, where she will be the first fencer from India ever to compete at the Olympic Games, Bhavani Devi, is likely to get her COVID-19 vaccination shots in Italy, where she is based for training.

Bhavani will likely get her first shot next week, the fencer told journalists in a virtual press conference organised by the Sports Authority of India.

“The Sports Authority of India and the Fencing Association of India had requested the Italian federation and the Indian embassy in Rome to help me get vaccinated here in Italy. It’s more or less confirmed that I will be vaccinated in Italy by next week. Otherwise, it would have been very difficult for me to come to India just to get inoculated,” said Bhavani.

Italy is among the countries to have barred travel from India late last month due to the emergence of a "double mutant" strain of COVID-19. India’s coronavirus numbers in the second wave have also been alarming.

Many of India’s athletes who have qualified for the deferred Tokyo Olympics have already gotten at least one shot of the vaccine. The Indian archery contingent has received both shots, while most members of India’s 15-member shooting contingent for Tokyo 2020 will get their second shot in Croatia, where they will be based until the Games.

Bhavani also said that given the coronavirus situation in India it was unlikely that she will return home before the Olympics. The Tamil Nadu athlete is currently in Rome attending a three-week training camp with the Italian fencing squad.

“Before the Olympics, I’m not sure I’ll come back to India. Mostly, I’ll fly directly to Japan from Italy,” said Bhavani. “As of now, there are no competitions scheduled before the Olympics. Most of them have been cancelled. The Asian Championships might be held, but there’s an 80 percent chance it won’t happen as well. So, the next competition might be the Olympics.”

“There will be training camps happening in Italy which I will participate in. The Italians have allowed me to participate in their training camps. It’ll be very intense training. In June, there will three more camps. In July, we’re trying to have camps outside Italy, preferably in Japan.”

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