7 minutes agoAuthor: VK Santosh Kumar for Bhaskar from Singapore
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Indian-origin Amita became the first fencer from Singapore to qualify directly for the Olympics.
In 2016, she had written a message in her father’s coffin, which promised that ‘I will definitely play in the Olympics one day. Today this promise has been fulfilled. This is the story of Amita Berthier, an Indian-origin fencing player in Singapore. She has qualified in Tokyo Olympics. 20-year-old Amita, who has been a junior world champion, is taking training along with studies in America. How this difficult goal was accomplished, read his words…
Mother is the biggest support system, she takes care of everything related to me; All in the family associated with sports, it strengthens
This was a promise I made to my father. He never put pressure. It was a goal I had set for myself, and wanted to share this joy with my father. This is my gift to them. It was all very challenging. It was not easy to reconcile everything with studies, training and preparation for competition after Papa’s absence. But I only saw the goal, I wanted to give my best. I have no regrets.
I am the first girl to qualify directly in the Olympics from Singapore. But I know that I am number 60 in the world and I will be facing high ranked and experienced players. However, I am excited that I will be up against the best fencers. I’ve been ‘training’ since 2016 from Rolf Bisdorf, the silver medalist at the 2000 Olympics in the US. Be it hot or cold, I train six days a week, four hours a day. Then there are classes, then sessions with the coach and then team training.
When I am in Singapore, I also take tips from coach Joseph Engert. My biggest support system is mother Uma Devi. She is from Kerala and has been a middle distance runner. After father, he had to walk alone on this journey. I can understand how difficult it must have been for them. But never gave up to keep me or my sister happy. Even at the age of 57, she takes care of my nutrition.
Talks to the coach, monitors my progress. Knowing that I love Indian dishes, she also makes Ada Payasam, Mango Curry and Avial specially for me. I got this strength from my family. Papa Eric was of French origin as well as mastered judo and football. Mother has been an athlete.
Brother Ashok is hockey and sister Aishwarya is a netball player. Younger sister Arya is a national level fencer in Singapore. For peace of mind, I often visit the Senpaga Vinayagar Temple in Singapore. I also have my father’s ring on my hand, which reminds me time and again that I want to shine in Tokyo. – Amita