Srinagar, Nov 3: Two teenage girls from Jammu and Kashmir have made the nation proud at an international level. Despite living hundreds of miles apart, what unites them is their determination to achieve the impossible and aim high with confidence.
One of them is Sheetal Devi, the star of the Asian Para Games from Kishtwar, and the other is Shahida Bano, an 11th-grade student from Baramulla, a young, gifted national awardee innovator who has been selected for the Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Programme.
Sheetal Devi, a 16-year-old armless archer from Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, made headlines with three medals at the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China.
Despite being born with underdeveloped limbs (Phocomelia), her archery journey began just two years ago. Growing up, she strengthened her upper body by climbing trees, catching the attention of scouts during an Indian Army event in 2021.
Notably, Sheetal adapted her approach after attempting a prosthetic arm. She trained at the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Sports Complex, inspired by American para-athlete Matt Strutzman’s techniques.
She gradually increased her daily shots from 50 to 300 and achieved silver and gold medals in national and international competitions.
Her remarkable success earned recognition from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and philanthropist Nita Ambani. Sheetal’s story is a testament to determination and resilience, inspiring others to overcome challenges.
Similarly, Shahida Bano, an 11th-grade student at Government Higher Secondary School Fathegarh, has been selected for Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Programme in Science, part of the SAKURA Exchange Programme in Science. She previously won the Inspire National Award and the Inventor India Challenge.
Her project, a smart vehicle key, uses a fingerprint sensor to determine the driver’s age and license number, preventing minors from driving. Shahida was inspired by the devastating impact of accidents involving minors in her area. Her innovation could save countless lives by ensuring only authorized individuals can start a vehicle, addressing a crucial road safety concern.
Praising the duo, the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Syed Sehrish Asghar wrote on X: “Story of 2 young girls, one from my hometown Kishtwar Sheetal, Gold Medalist Archer at Para Asian Games and another from Baramulla, Shahida, Govt school student who has been selected as innovator for Japan expo making us proud..!
“Manav jab zor lagata hai.
Pathar pani ban jata hai.”