Jammu, Aug 3: In an awe-inspiring display of determination and resilience, 16-year-old Sheetal Devi, hailing from the remote village of Loi Dhar in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, has achieved a remarkable feat by clinching a silver medal at the prestigious Para-Archery World Championship held in the Czech Republic.
“Though in the Para-Archery World Championship in the Czech Republic, she participated in different categories and secured Gold and Bronze medals also yet her silver medal victory remained significant as on its basis, she has qualified for ensuing Para Olympics, 2024 in Paris,” PRO Defence Lt Col Suneel Bartwal told Greater Kashmir.
Born without hands (Phocomelia), Sheetal's journey from the rugged mountains of her homeland to the international stage is a testament to the human spirit's indomitable power.
“In 2019, Sheetal caught the attention of the Rashtriya Rifles unit of the Indian army during a youth event at Mughal Maidan. Recognizing her exceptional talent and drive, the Indian army took her under its wing, providing both educational support and facilitating medical assistance. Thanks to the relentless efforts of Bengaluru-based Meghna Girish, actor Anupam Kher, and the NGO 'The Being You', Sheetal was equipped with bionic arms, opening up new avenues for her to conquer,” said PRO Defence Lt Col Suneel Bartwal.
Since then, Sheetal's unwavering spirit and extraordinary achievements have turned her into a true inspiration, not only for her community but for people worldwide.
“Life in the challenging terrain of the mountains only served to make her stronger, igniting an unyielding determination to overcome any obstacle in her path,” Lt Col Bartwal said.
According to him, under the guidance of National Coach of Archery (Paralympics), Kuldeep Baidwan, Sheetal underwent rigorous training and honed her skills in archery. Her performances in various national archery competitions showcased her remarkable abilities and earned her a spot in the international arena.
“Sheetal's exceptional journey culminated in the Para-Archery World Championship in the Czech Republic, where she secured Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals, etching her name in history as the world's first armless woman archer,” Lt Col Bartwal said.
“Her Silver medal victory at the Para-Archery World Championship not only signifies her personal triumph but also positions her as a formidable contender for the upcoming Para Olympics 2024 in Paris. Her story serves as an inspiration to countless individuals around the world, encouraging them to chase their dreams relentlessly and break down barriers that may seem insurmountable,” he added.