Indian paraarcher Sheetal Devi won the Sportstar Aces Award for the Sportstar of the Year (female) at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on Thursday.
“My life changed when I went to the Shrine Board. I met my coach, Shri Kuldeep Kumar Vedwan. When I first saw archery, I never thought I could do it. Kuldeep sir made a device for me with which I could shoot an arrow... I won Jammu and Kashmir its first Arjuna Award. I would like to thank the Shrine Board, OGQ, and the Archery Association of India,” Sheetal said.
“The best moment was when I won the individual gold at the Para Asian Games, the tricolour was flying high. My dream is to win the gold in Paris too. When I went to school, I started writing with my leg. I do all my work with my legs. I consider my legs to be my hands,” she added.
Meanwhile, Abhilasha Chaudhary, Sheetal’s coach, praised the administration for its unwavering support. “Since 2017, archery has contributed 27 international medals from the Shrine Board. We are pursuing an Olympic medal. Shri Mata Devi Shrine Board has become the only religious institution to contribute so much on the international arena in the field of sports... Three of our archers have secured a berth for the Paris Olympics,” she said.
Born with phocomelia, a disorder causing underdeveloped limbs, Sheetal is the world’s first armless woman archer (open compound). Ranked World No. 1 as of November 29, 2023, she captured everyone’s attention with her steely-eyed attitude in para-archery.
In 2023, she became the world record holder in the women’s doubles event at the Para Worlds, while at the World Archery Para Championships, she clinched a silver medal, making her the first female armless archer to do so. She won three medals at the Asian Para Games, including two golds and one silver.
Notably, she became the first woman to secure two gold medals at the tournament, further solidifying her position as a trailblazer in the sport.
Last year, she was also named the Best Youth Athlete at the Asian Paralympic Committee awards ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and also became world number one in individual rankings.
“It’s unbelievable when I look one year back -- where and how I was and where I am now. With every competition, I feel more confident,” she told the World Archery website. Speaking about her upcoming goals, she said, “I want to win a medal at the Paralympic Games and bring glory to my nation. This is my dream.”
Sheetal has also been conferred with the prestigious Arjuna award.
Sheetal Devi in 2023
- World No. 1 (As of November 29, 2023)
- World Record holder in women’s doubles event at para worlds
- World’s first armless woman archer
- World Archery Para Championships 2023 silver
- First female armless archer to win medal at the para world championships
- First woman to win two gold medals at Asian Para Games 2023; won 3 medals in total in Hangzhou
- First Indian to win Best Youth Athlete of the Year Award at Asian Awards 2023
The event is presented by Amul, powered by IDFC First Bank in association with Indian Oil. The associate partners are LIC India, State Bank of India, Greyon Cosmetic, India Cements, United India Insurance, NTPC, Ramaiah University. The realty partner is Casagrand, with online grocery partner Big Basket, colour partner Nippon Paint and education partner Christ University. The co-sponsors are Pratiyogita Darpan, SSVM, PSG, Signpost, Digital OOH Partner, and NDTV, Broadcast Partner.
- RCB vs UPW Live Score, WPL 2024: Warriorz struggle in chase of 158 as Asha removes McGrath, Vrinda
- India loses to Australia in shootout of FIH Men’s Pro League
- Sri Lanka T20 skipper Wanindu Hasaranga gets two-match ban for abusing umpire
- Pune Challenger 2024: Vacherot storms into final with a comeback win against Sweeny
- Indian sports wrap, February 24