Women's Day: Armless archer Sheetal Devi a success story

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 08, 2024 IST

Sheetal Devi

New Delhi, March 8: This International Women's Day, let's celebrate the resilience of women who defy the odds and carve their path to success with their courage and resilience. Among these extraordinary individuals stands Sheetal Devi, who at 16 is the first female para-archer to compete globally without arms.

Tales of athletes triumphing against daunting odds are not uncommon in the realm of sports. However, amidst these inspiring narratives, an armless archer from Jammu & Kashmir shines brightly.

Born with a rare congenital disorder called phocomelia, causing underdeveloped limbs, Sheetal's journey from the quiet village of Loidhar in Jammu and Kashmir to the international stage of para-archery is a testament to the power of perseverance and self-belief.

American golf legend Arnold Palmer once said: "Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you."

Sheetal exemplified Palmer's wisdom by conquering physical limitations and redefined what it means to pursue excellence against all odds. She hasn't looked back since first putting her foot in the bow at the age of 12, conquering every obstacle with her indomitable spirit and determination.

Her debut international season was nothing short of phenomenal. She not only reached the finals of all four international competitions she participated in 2023 but also clinched numerous medals in doubles competitions along the way. And yet, this is just the beginning of her remarkable journey.

In her first international season, the teenager claimed a silver medal in the open women’s compound archery event at the World Archery Para Championships in the Czech Republic in July 2023, becoming the first female armless archer to win a medal at the Para World Championships.

The world championships medal also helped Sheetal obtain a quota for India for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Her stellar run continued at the Asian Para Games 2023 in October as she bagged gold medals in the individual compound and mixed team events apart from winning the silver medal in the women’s doubles competition.

Following her success in world championships and Asian Para Games, Sheetal claimed the No. 1 spot in the rankings for para compound archers.

The teenage prodigy wrapped up her year by winning the gold medal in the inaugural Khelo India Para Games 2023 in the women’s compound open category in New Delhi.

Following her scintillating performance at the international arena, that too in a debut season, Sheetal was named the Best Youth Athlete of the Year by the Asian Paralympic Committee and was presented with the Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest sporting honour, in January this year.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, Sheetal's story stands as a testament to the resilience, strength, and boundless potential of women in sports and beyond. Her remarkable achievements serve as an inspiration to all, proving that with determination and courage, no obstacle is insurmountable.

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