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Who is Sheetal devi world number one archer all you need to know about

By Vipin - 2023-12-01 16:01:00
Who is Sheetal devi world number one archer all you need to know about

16-year-old Sheetal Devi is scripting history at the Asian Para Games, making India proud. Devi is the world's first armless archer to be a part of the games this year. At the women's doubles event, Sheetal won a silver and bagged gold in the women's compound open event. For the last win, she shot six consecutive ten-rings in the last two rounds at the final. The teen girl's journey to Asian Para Games 2023 is proof that with determination, and belief in yourself, you can do anything in life. Her big wins at the games are an inspiration for billions of Indians, a glimmer of hope for many who don't follow their dreams thinking they aren't enough.

Archery is a sport that requires skill, precision, vision, concentration and good control. Sheetal Devi, a 16-year-old archer from the state of Jammu & Kashmir, has all of those but not hands, and yet she claimed the top prize in the Asian Para Games 2023 in Hangzhou. Born with Phocomelia, a rare congenital disorder that causes under-developed limbs, Sheetal defied all odds to stand tall on her feet, making India proud internationally.

Hailing from Loidhar village in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, Sheetal is the ‘first female archer without arms to compete internationally’, per the sport’s governing body - World Archery. This week at the Asian Para Games, she claimed not one but three medals, including a gold, in different categories.

Having won a silver in the women’s compound earlier, Sheetal won two medals in the mixed doubles and women’s individual category.

On Friday (Oct 27), Sheetal clinched the gold medal in the women’s compound final, beating Alim Nur Syahidah of Singapore by shooting six consecutive ten rings in the last two rounds.

Sheetal’s rise from nowhere to world stage

From a school-going girl to winning medals at the Asian Para Games, Sheetal has come a long way. Unaware of her abilities, Sheetal was suggested to take up sports that are upper-body related upon assessment, including archery and swimming.

Following a collective decision from Sheetal and the doctors involved, the Indian para-archer took up this sport and began her journey. Sheetal joined Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Sports Complex in Katra.

Coaches ready for new challenge

Abhilasha Chaudhary and Kuldeep Vedwan, the two coaches at the centre, had never trained an athlete without arms but had watched 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist Matt Stutzman using his legs for taking a shot before.

sheetal

We modified a locally-made releaser into a shoulder releaser. We also put together a string mechanism for the chin and mouth to create the trigger to help her release the arrow. We improvised based on what we saw Mark Stutzman using, said Chaudhary.

Starting from shooting 50-100 arrows daily, Sheetal upped her level, and as her strength grew, she was training while shooting 300 in a day. Six months later, Sheetal won a silver at the Para Open Nationals in Sonipat and finished fourth while competing against able-bodied archers at the Open Nationals.

When Kuldeep Sir made me train with the bow for the first time, I thought I could never do it. But as he made me understand the technique, I felt I should give it a try,” Sheetal said. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated her on her gold medal win.

Also Read: Indian team can become the team that wins most T20 matches in the World

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