Outside of Italy, fencer Bhavani now finds a fictional partner

CHENNAI: Not long ago, fencer Bhavani Devi he was in Livorno in Italy, training with his coach Nicola Zanotti , trying to prepare his bet for an Olympic position. She left Italy in late February when COVID-19 19 was exploding in the country and now the 26-year-old is in Chennai, trying to find innovative methods to keep the flow of juices competitive.

"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.

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Bhavani trains with her fictional partner three times a week and is happy with the progress she is making. I made this temporary arrangement a few days ago and I am at the right height to train. It is nice to have the feeling of training with a partner. Before this, I had sessions where I just imagined practicing with someone, Bhavani said.

She starts the day with high intensity workouts. The afternoons are held specifically for yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation calm me down after intense training sessions in the first half of the day. Also, staying home has a huge advantage in that I get the best food possible, Bhavani said.

In his attempt to be mentally strong, Bhavani attended a session with sports psychologist Divya Jain. I am grateful that the GoSports Foundation has provided this. The session highlighted aspects of mental well-being and how to keep stress away during this period, Bhavani said.

In addition to his usual set of training and meditation routines, Bhavani also finds time to enjoy other sports activities. I play badminton regularly as it provides me with intense physical activity, he said. About to become the first Indian fencer to make the Olympic cut, Bhavani believes it may be a few months before things return to normal. This is the time to work on my weaknesses and remain injury free. As long as there is an announcement for the next series of competitions, I hope to be ready both physically and mentally, Bhavani said.

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