Fencing is one of the five sports which have been played from the first modern Olympics but very few of us in India might have actually seen a fencing session and still fewer if asked might not be able to name a fencer.
Being associated with hardly acknowledged sport Vaidehi Lohia is overcoming all her barriers and prefers to focus only on fencing.
I am 14 years old, was born in Aurangabad in a middle class family; my father runs a courier business and mother being a school teacher; within 24 hours after my birth my parents discovered I had hole in my heart, the doctors said I would die with it, I was kept in intensive care unit for 3 weeks the defect was closed on its own and have been repaired.
I am a fighter and chose to do what I am doing today.
So in year 2015, I picked up fencing as a sport in my school in Agrasen Vidhya Mandir Aurangabad Maharashtra.
I compete with Foil type of sword, one of three weapons used in fencing; it is flexible, rectangular in cross section and weighs under a pound, the other two types are Epee and Sabre (weapons used for fencing).
All events require the fence to touch the opponent with their weapon, in order to score the opponent; In Epee and Foil scoring touches have to be made only with the tip of sword, whereas in Sabre touches can be made with any part of sword; further in Epee entire body of opponent is a valid target for scoring touch, but in Sabre only upper body excluding hands is valid target and in Foil only the torso is valid target for scoring touches.
It is said that the fencing blade is the second fastest moving object in all of the sport, behind only the bullet in shooting; though some doubts have been raised about the claim, fencing is a sport where clash last for about 10 minutes, it is important to be physically and mentally agile.
As of now my aim is 2028 summer Olympics; my day starts at 6 am in morning and is dedicated to practising fencing, day in and day out I thoroughly enjoy practising this art and qualifying to higher levels.
My coach Tukaram Mhatre sir under his guidance, I was sent for many competitions and bagged many medals from state to nationals and the tally is nearing 70 medals; including gold silver and bronze.
- Won silver medal in 2017 at National school games Telangana
- Bronze in 2017 at school state fencing championship Aurangbad
- Silver in 2018 at school state fencing championship Dhule
- Won gold in 2018 at school state fencing championship Aurangabad
- Gold medal in 2018 at Federation state fencing championship Satara
- Gold medal in 2018 at sub junior fencing championship Dhule
- Bronze in 2018 at Senior state fencing championship Latur
- Bronze in2018 at Senior state fencing championship Yavatmal
- Silver in 2019 at All India Inter SAI fencing championship Kerela
- Gold in 2019 at National school games Nasik
- Silver in 2019 at Youth state fencing championship Aurangabad.
- Won Gold in 2019 at Senior state fencing championship Nasik
- Silver in 2019 at West zone national fencing championship Nasik
- Silver in 2020 at Cadet national fencing championship Telangana
- Bronze in 2020 at Youth national fencing championship Tamilnadu
I might be calm, almost shy person but there is more to it than what you see; don’t underestimate me!
Fencing requires a great deal of mental focus, so in order to be successful, you need to plan your next move ,and watch your opponents move ;I have developed good hand-eye co-ordination, balance and quick reflexes.
I was unprepared for Asian fencing championship Bangkok last year and lost out, because I was too anxious and stressed out to be able to give my best in qualifiers, now I have a better understanding of my abilities and clearer picture of my goal.
When I go for matches in different states, keep facing different struggles, different rice, food cooked in different oil or just living by yourself.
Fencing Association of India was recognized by Indian Government in 1997 and it is affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association, Asian Fencing Confederation, Commonwealth Fencing Federation and Fédération Internationale d’Escrime (FIE).
I feel I am not at that level, not yet at least and has miles to go before attaining the status.
Still a lot of time has left for 2028 summer Olympics.
I am serious about fencing and my school has been extremely supportive by encouraging me and have given permission in favour of home tutoring for 2 to 3 hours every day instead of regular schooling as I travel around the country constantly for matches.
While my mother Kavita has been a constant companion and can document every detail of every match, my father provides emotional heft.
Vaidehi is a fierce competitor and a great young talent, we have never limited her, we have allowed her to find her way, says Kavita vaidehi’s mother.
Her accomplishments speaks for themselves; her inspiring story of overcoming odds and chasing her dreams, on and off the course is a life story in and of itself.
Vaidehi Lohia may be only 14 years old but she is expected to compete for many more medals in upcoming championships.
She will be another young star to look out for!!
Written by Raavya Sarda