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Para Athletes Sheetal Devi And Prachi Yadav To Be Conferred The Arjuna Award

Sheetal Devi, Para-Archer and Prachi Yadav, Para-Canoe player are India’s two Para Athletes who have been listed for Arjuna Awards, for their outstanding performance in Sports and Games 2023

Written By: | Edited By: | December 20, 2023 हिन्दी में पढ़े

New Delhi: Congratulations to Sheetal Devi and Prachi Yadav, India’s two Para Athletes who have been listed for the Arjuna Awards, for their outstanding performance in Sports and Games 2023. The two athletes will receive the award on January 9, 2024, from the President of India. Their names were confirmed under the National Sports Awards 2023 list, released by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on December 20. Both Sheetal (Para-Archer) and Prachi (Para-Canoe player) are among the six athletes supported by Hyundai as part of the initiative Samarth.

Born without arms, 16-year-old Sheetal Devi from Loidhar village in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, has already been making headlines across the world by winning three medals – two gold and one silver in the Asian Para Games held in Hangzhou in China recently. Sheetal is the world’s first female archer without arms to win an archery world championship medal.

Sheetal was born with Phocomelia, a rare congenital deformity in which the limbs are either very underdeveloped or absent. Sheetal’s achievements despite her disability are not only inspiring but also a testament to her determination and indomitable spirit.

Also Read: Khelo India Para Games 2023: Jammu’s Sheetal Devi, Armless Archer Pips Jyoti Baliyan, Clinches Gold

Sheetal credits her achievements to her parents, trainers and coach, Preeti, who had introduced her to the world of sports. In a conversation with NDTV pegged to the launch of Samarth by Hyundai, Sheetal talked about the misconceptions people had about her which is the disbelief in her abilities to do be able to do anything in life. But her coach, Preeti turned the tables for her for the better. She added,

“I have been using my feet for everything since childhood – writing, studying, playing, climbing trees, and now I also do archery with my feet.”

On the other hand, 28-year-old Prachi Yadav from Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior is the first Indian to win a para canoe gold in the Asian Para Games 2023. Prachi, who is paralysed waist down, has won four gold and a silver and bronze medal each in different international para sporting events. She has also bagged six gold and four silver medals in different national para sporting events. Before competing in Kayaking and Canoeing, Prachi used to be a champion para-swimmer for India.

In an interview with NDTV, Prachi shared a message for people with disabilities, and said,

“If you consider yourselves disabled, if it is in your mind that you are disabled, you will be disabled. But if you have made up your mind to do something and are determined then nobody can stop you.”

Prachi recalled the comments made by her relatives on her disability and shared,

“When I began in sports, my relatives would say what can she do? She can’t do anything. She can’t even ride a cycle, she can’t walk. When my father first went to get me admitted to a school, they refused to accept me saying, how will your daughter handle being here? Who will support here?”

But Prachi’s father supported her throughout and with a “strong mind” she has carved her niche.

The relentless spirit of Sheetal and Prachi are motivating!

Also Read: Khelo India Para Games: Why Nothing Is Impossible For Cerebral Palsy Quadriplegic Jeetu Kanwar

About The Initiative

Samarth by Hyundai in partnership with NDTV, is an initiative that seeks to promote inclusivity, change perceptions, and enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.

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