National fencing squad’s hopes of earning an Olympic Games quota place ended at the quarterfinal stage of the Asian Olympic qualifier tournament held in Tashkent.
“Since it was one last chance to make the cut for the Olympics, the players wilted under pressure. Instead of staying calm and playing their natural game the fencers became a bit error prone that spoiled their chances,” a national level coach told IANS.
The two-day tournament, held last weekend, offered six quota places, including three in the women’s category for the Tokyo Olympics.
According to the coach, two fencers — Sunil Kumar and Radhia Avati — entered the quarterfinals of their respective events while other three bowed out in the first round.
“Sunil gave a good account of himself in the epee event. He was leading in his quarterfinal match, but lost three vital points in the closing stages of the tournament to bow out,” he said.
Radhia too reached the quarterfinal stage in the women’s foil event. “We were expecting Karan Singh to reach the semis of men’s sabre event. But he too went out early in the Asian tournament,” said the national team coach.
The Asian Olympic qualifiers was the last chance for Indians to make the cut for the Olympics scheduled to start on July 23.
Last month, India’s Bhavani Devi had won the Olympics quota place in the sabre event in Italy. She is the only Indian fencer to have won a ticket for the Olympics.