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When we think about India's best bets at the Olympics, the first three sports which would come to our mind are shooting, wrestling and badminton. However, the Indian government is trying to unearth talent in other disciplines as well. Fencing will be provided with a huge platform when the sport will be conducted for the first time in the Khelo India Games set-up. The sport will make its debut in Khelo India at University Games. Fencers from around the country are excited to take part in the Khelo India University Games, which will take place in Bhubaneswar from February 22 to March 1, 2020.
"The Khelo India University Games will be very good for fencing since there are not too many competitions for us. So, the more competitions take place the better it is for us. The fencers in India will get exposure by playing in the Khelo India University Games," said Jagmeet Kaur, who will be part of the Guru Nanak Dev University team.
Jagmeet, who won gold (team event) at the South Asian Games last year, added that Khelo India has become a known entity in India.
"Khelo India has become a brand now. Whenever we spoke about our tournaments with our friends and relatives, they didn't know which tournament are we talking about. But now, if I say I will be taking part in the Khelo India University Games, then they'll have an idea about the competition," said the 18-year-old.
Ena Arora, who will be part of the Punjabi University team, expressed that with continued support from the government, Indian fencers will perform much better at the national and international levels.
"It's great that the government is supporting fencing through the Khelo India University Games. With continued support, I am sure that Indian athletes will perform well at the national and international levels. We will have better chances to win medals at the highest level," said the 22-year-old.
A Tamil Nadu fencer RS Sherjin moved to Army Sports Institute in Pune at the age of seven to practice fencing. Sherjin, who has been in the sport for ten years, believes that the Khelo India University Games will be a bridge between the junior and senior level competitions.
"Moving from the junior to the senior category is quite difficult. So the athletes can perform at the university-level to have a chance to showcase their talent. They can participate at the World University Games as well," said Sherjin.
Udaivir Singh, who will play for the Guru Nanak Dev University, said that the Khelo India University Games will provide the much-needed exposure to many fencers in India.
"The Khelo India University Games will be a big boost to our sport since we don't have too many competitions. The more exposure the better for all athletes. The level of opponents is very low in India. I have been training in France for the last one and a half years and the fencers there are much better in comparison to the fencers in India. The fencers here don't have much exposure," said Udaivir.