Indian teenage fencer Taniksha Khatri scores surprise win at Doha Grand Prix
Taniksha Khatri scored a major victory for Indian fencing at the Doha Grand Prix on Sunday. The 18-year-old, ranked 664th in the world, beat world number 20 Jacques Andre Coquin before finishing 31st out of 124 female epee shooters.
Taniksha battled 14-15 against Guzzi Vincenti Margh (WR 86) to retire at stage T32. She battled throughout the match and came back from 12-14 to tie at 14-14.
Taniksha, the right-handed fencer, broke into the top 100 in the junior section last year. She has been eligible for senior rankings for the past two years, but has not progressed to the top 600. She has won national epee championships in the country in the past.
Earlier on Saturday, Indian star fencer Bhavani Devi, the country’s only Olympic representative in the sport, finished 58th out of 137 fencers at the Fencing World Cup in Bulgaria (saber).
While fencing falls under the ‘general’ category among disciplines in India, the Ministry of Sports has identified fencing as one of 14 disciplines to be developed as medal hopefuls, keeping the Games in mind. Olympics of 2024 and 2028 and beyond.
Although there is talent, the sport has been held back due to a lack of competition. Bhavani managed to train abroad while competing internationally with the help of sponsors. Taniksha’s moment of glory in Doha is a sign that others are on the right track.