J&K’s teen para-archer conferred with Arjuna award

Jammu, Jan 9: J&K’s teen sensation and para-archer from Kishtwar district Sheetal Devi was among 26 sportspersons, who were conferred with prestigious Arjuna awards by the President Droupadi Murmu, among other national sports awards for outstanding performance in Sports and Games, 2023, on Tuesday.

National sports awards were conferred in a glittering award ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan.

An ecstatic Sheetal evoked maximum applause when she received this award from President Murmu.

Her citation read on the momentous occasion described this teenager, born in January 2007, as “one of the most outstanding players in the discipline of para-archery.”

“Her achievements are three Gold medals viz., Women’s Individual Compound Team and Mixed team and one silver medal in women’s Doubles compound in the 4th para Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China in 2023. One Silver medal in Women’s Individual Compound in the World Para Archery Championship held in Pilsen, Czech Republic in 2023. In recognition of her outstanding achievements in the sports of Para-Archery, the Arjuna Award for the Year 2023 is being conferred upon Sheetal Devi,” it was stated during the award-ceremony, while felicitating J&K’s new icon for resilience.

On November 25, Sheetal had bagged “Best Youth Athlete of the Year” award at the Asian Paralympic Committee’s award ceremony in Riyadh. 16-year-old was the first Indian to win this award.

Sheetal, who is world’s first armless archer, had scored a hat-trick of medals at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games-2022, held this year in October. She had won a gold medal in the archery women’s individual compound open event; gold medal in mixed team compound event and a silver in women’s doubles compound event.

With this feat, she had also become the first Indian female to win two gold medals in a single edition of the Asian Para Games.

Her overwhelming feat had won her appreciation from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha as well, besides others.

She along with other para-archers from India gave the best ever performance (of Indian squad) at Para Asian Archery Championships-2023 in Bangkok.

National Sports Awards 2023 are based on the recommendations of the Committee after due scrutiny and are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports.

‘Arjuna Award for outstanding performance in Sports and Games’ is given for good performance over a period of the previous four years and for showing qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.

As she received the Arjuna award in the union capital, her parents and grand-father were felicitated by the Kishtwar district administration this afternoon at her residence in her native village.

While greeting the elated parents, the officials underlined the significance of the prestigious national award.

“We are here just to greet you while sharing this great news that Sheetal has been conferred with the second topmost award of the country in the sports arena for sportspersons. Your daughter, as J&K’s daughter, has made not just you but all of us very proud,” they stated, while felicitating Sheetal’s parents and grand-father and distributing sweets.

Besides Arjuna awards, the President of India also presented Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Awards-2023; Dronacharya Awards-2023; Dhyan Chand Awards-2023; Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Awards-2022; Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar-2023 and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy-2023.

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