India’s Armless Archer, Sheetal Devi, Aims for Paralympic Glory


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Sheetal Devi, a teenage archer from Jammu and Kashmir, is defying limitations and rewriting narratives in the world of sports. Born in 2007 with a rare condition called phocomelia, she competes without arms, her determination and skill making her a rising star in para-archery.

Despite her physical challenges, Devi’s journey began in 2019 at a youth event. Spotted by the Indian Army’s Rashtriya Rifles unit, she received support for education and medical assistance. Soon, she discovered her talent for archery, mastering the art of using her feet to draw the bow and release the arrow with remarkable precision.

Her meteoric rise started in 2023. At the World Archery Para Championships in July, she clinched a silver medal in the open women’s compound event, becoming the first armless female archer to achieve such a feat on the world stage. This victory also secured India a quota for the upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Continuing her winning streak, Devi dominated the Asian Para Games in October, bagging two gold medals – one in the individual compound event and another in the mixed team event. She added a silver in the women’s doubles, solidifying her position as a force to be reckoned with.

Her achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. In January 2024, she received the prestigious Arjuna Award, recognizing her outstanding contribution to Indian sports. This honor stands as a testament to her exceptional talent and unwavering spirit.

As Devi prepares for the Paralympics, her story resonates far beyond the archery field. It serves as an inspiration to millions, demonstrating that resilience, passion, and unwavering spirit can overcome any obstacle. With her eyes set on gold in Paris, Sheetal Devi promises to continue shattering barriers and proving that limitations are nothing but opportunities in disguise.

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