Jammu and Kashmir’s Sheetal Devi Para Archer Claims No.1 Spot
Jammu and Kashmir’s Sheetal Devi has scaled the top of her athletic career and became the world’s number 1 in the women’s compound open section of the para-world archery rankings. Her ranking jumped after her two gold medals at the Para Asian Games. As per the news agency, Sheetal Devi, a resident of a small village in the Kishtwar district of Jammu, became the first Indian woman to win two gold medals in an edition of the Asian Para Games, in Hangzhou in October 2023. The 16-year-old from Jammu and Kashmir is the first Indian to win the Best Youth Athlete Of The Year honor at the Asian Awards.
Adding to her expanding list of firsts, prodigious Indian para-archer Sheetal Devi won the Best Youth Athlete Of The Year honor at the Asian Awards 2023 in Riyadh on Saturday, November 25. The 16-year-old became the first Indian athlete ever to win the laurel. According to World Para Archery, Sheetal is the world’s first female archer to compete internationally without arms. She is not just competing, however. The teenager is winning medals at major events in a dream debut season.
Sheetal won the silver medal at the World Para Archery Championships in Pilsen in the Czech Republic earlier this year and followed it up with three medals at the Asian Para Games 2023 in Hangzhou which catapulted her to national attention. Her tally included two gold medals, which made her the first Indian woman to win two gold in a single edition of the Asian Para Games.
The girl from Jammu and Kashmir was born with phocomelia, a rare congenital disorder that causes under-developed limbs. A native of Loidhar village in Kishtwar, Sheetal’s talent was discovered at a youth event organized by the Indian Army in Kishtwar in 2021. She caught the attention of the scouts there because of her athleticism.
What makes Sheetal unique is the fact that she shoots with the help of her legs. USA’s legendary para archer Matt Stutzman used a similar technique Another native of J&K Rakesh Kumar, who won three gold medals at the recently-concluded Para Asian Championship, also moved up two places to become world No. 3, behind Nathan Macqueen of Great Britain and Matteo Bonacina of Italy. Indian para archer Sarita, who returned with a bronze medal at the Bangkok Asian Championships was the highest gainer, moving up seven places to become world No. 6 in Tuesday’s update—(KNO