Sheetal Devi, world’s only armless woman archer, will head into the World Archery Para Championships, hoping to earn a quota for next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris. The 16-year-old, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir’s Lohi Dhar village, is a trainee of Jammu’s Mata Vaishnodevi Archery Academy. Speaking to NDTV, Sheetal has revealed that she dreamt of having prosthetics to lead a normal life and become a teacher. However, her life changed drastically after meeting Preethi Rai, who runs an NGO named ‘Being You’, in Bengaluru.
It was Preethi who recognised Sheetal’s core strength and motivated her to consider archery as a career option. At first, she was reluctant to take up the sport, but eventually decided to join the academy.
Over the last 12 months or so, Sheetal has won national medals, a ranking tournament in Czech Republic, and also secured first position at the Para Asian Games trials.
“I’ve spent one year in archery… feels very good… wanted to become a teacher… but now I am in archery and it feels good. Parents are very happy because I have progressed in life,” Sheetal said during an interaction with NDTV.
Her journey started at the Archery Junior Nationals last year, where she had to compete with able-bodied athletes.
Since then, she has won a silver and a bronze medal at Khelo India Nationals and Women’s Khelo India games, respectively.
At such a young age, she has already become a role model for the girls and the youth in the region.
Sheetal’s coach, Kuldeep Vedwan, is confident that she will win medals for the country with the top target being a gold medal at the Paralympics.
Topics mentioned in this article