Armless Para-Archer from J&K’s Kishtwar recieves Arjuna Award from President Murmu

Srinagar, Jan 09: Sheetal Devi, an inspiring para-archer from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar district, received the prestigious Arjuna Award from President Droupadi Murmu in a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi today.

Born with phocomelia, which impeded the development of her arms, she faced considerable challenges from a young age. However, Sheetal’s indomitable spirit saw her excel in activities that built her physical strength, crucial for her future in archery.

Her entry into professional archery was marked by an event organised by the Indian Army in Kishtwar in 2019. Under the mentorship of Kuldeep Vedwan, a former archer, Sheetal honed her skills, adopting a unique technique that involved using her feet and legs for shooting, similar to Matt Stutzman, a renowned armless archer.

Sheetal made a mark at the World Archery Para Championships 2023 in the Czech Republic, where she won a silver medal, becoming the first female armless archer to achieve this feat. This victory not only brought her acclaim but also secured a place for her in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Her success continued at the Asian Para Games 2023, where she won multiple medals, including golds in the individual compound and mixed team events and a silver in the women’s doubles.

Her excellence in the sport was further recognised through several prestigious awards. She was named the Best Youth Athlete of the Year by the Asian Paralympic Committee and the Best Women’s Para Archer of the Year by World Archery. Additionally, Sheetal attained the number one ranking in women’s compound para archery in 2023.

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