What's the story?
Rising fencing sensation Jyotika Dutta bagged the gold medal in the women's individual épée competition by defeating Manipur University's Linthoi Haobam in the final.
22-year-old Dutta is an épée specialist. She represented India at the 2018 Asiad and managed to reach the quarterfinals in the women's individual épée at the Games in Jakarta.
The petite youngster has been on a consistent rise in the sport and one of the best talents in the country. She also trained at the International Fencing Federation's High Performance Centre in France recently, where she had Olympians and épée world champions such as Nathalie Moellhausen training alongside her.
However, the seasoned campaigner from Himachal Pradesh, despite being the favourite in the women's individual épée event, suffered two losses in the group stage. Dutta recovered brilliantly and made it to the individual girls épée finals. In the knockouts, she raced to an emphatic 15-5 win over Yashkeerat Hayer.
Also check out: Updated Khelo India University Games 2020 medal tally
The heart of the matter
Representing the Guru Nanak Dev University of Amritsar, Dutta was up against Haobam of Manipur University in the final. She was determined not to make the mistakes of the group stages in the summit clash. The final was neck-and-neck and Haobam initially gave Dutta a run for her money.
Rohru-born Dutta eventually prevailed and won the tense bout 15-14. She used her quick feet and small frame to her advantage and sealed the deal.
"Competitions are perhaps the most important thing for an athlete’s personal growth. Unfortunately fencing isn’t really the most popular sport in India. There are few competitions to participate in. Having it at the University Games is a huge boost for the sport and for us too. Hopefully some more kids will pick it up."
There is plenty of fencing action yet to come at the inaugural KIUG 2020. The finals in the women's foil team, men's épée team, and men's sabre team will all be played on 24 February 2020, marking the last day of fencing at the event.
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