16 Year-Old From Jammu And Kashmir Makes History Asian Para Games

Sheetal Devi, 16, hails from Loidhar village in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir and was born with a condition - Phocomelia, a disorder causing under-developed limbs. Recently in the Asian Para Games held in Hangzhou in China, she has bagged three medals - two gold and one silver in archery and has become the world's first armless woman archer

Published On: December 01, 2023 23:29 | 6 Photos

Recalling her childhood, Sheetal Devi,16, said that her favourite pastime was to climb trees. She said, "Bachpan mein bas trees ki oochaaniyaan ko chooona chahiti thi, yahi cheez mujhe hamesha khush rakhti thi (I wanted to touch the heights of the trees that was the only thing which made me happy).

The army spotted her in 2019 at a youth sports event in Kishtwar, and they helped Devi get a prosthetic arm from Bengaluru, but it didn't work out as nothing fitted well for her. It was at this time when Sheetal was introduced to many sportspersons who motivated her to take up para sports.

Sheetal Devi was guided to take up para archery and was introduced to coaches Kuldeep Baidwan and Abhilasha Chaudhary. From 2022, under the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Sheetal Devi started training for para sports.

The coaches took inspiration from silver medalist of London Paralympics 2012, Matt Stutzman, who used his legs to shoot. The trainers talked about Sheetal's training and how she began by shooting 50-100 arrows daily and gradually the count went up to 300 as her strength improved.

She then won a silver medal at the Para Open Nationals in Sonepat. And in the para-archery world championship in the Czech Republic, she secured a gold, silver and bronze medals and became the world's first armless woman archer. Now, she has won three medals in Asian Para Games 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Sheetal Devi to congratulate her and bless her for achieving such a huge milestone in her life.

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