Who is Sheetal Devi? Know all about World's First Armless Female Archer

Rozana Spokesman  | Amanat Thaper


Asian Para Games 2023: 16-Year-Old From Jammu & Kashmir Overcomes Odds to Claim Gold, Silver, & Hearts

Asian Para Games 2023: Who is Sheetal Devi?

Who is Armless Archer Sheetal Devi, Gold Medal Winner at Asian Para games 2023? In a tale of unparalleled determination and resilience, Sheetal Devi, a 16-year-old archer hailing from the picturesque state of Jammu and Kashmir, has etched her name in history by clinching top honors at the Asian Para Games 2023 held in Hangzhou. 

Born with Phocomelia, an exceedingly rare congenital disorder resulting in under-developed limbs, Sheetal's remarkable journey has not only defied adversity but also illuminated India's sporting prowess on the international stage.

Sheetal's exceptional achievement makes her the "first female archer without arms to compete internationally," as recognized by the sport's governing body, World Archery. This young archer's performance at the Asian Para Games saw her seize not just one, but three medals, including a coveted gold, across different categories.

Who is Armless Archer Sheetal Devi, who won Gold medal at Asian Para Games 2023?

Sheetal Devi hailed from the quaint village of Loidhar in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir. From a school-going girl with an uncertain future to a beacon of inspiration for many, Sheetal's journey is a testament to the extraordinary potential within individuals. Initially unsure of her capabilities, she was advised to explore sports that engaged her upper body. Archery, an unconventional choice for someone without arms, eventually caught her interest, marking the beginning of her remarkable voyage.

Sheetal joined the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Sports Complex in Katra, where coaches Abhilasha Chaudhary and Kuldeep Vedwan embarked on the challenging task of training an athlete without arms. Drawing inspiration from 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist Matt Stutzman, who famously used his legs to shoot, they devised innovative solutions, such as a shoulder releaser and a string mechanism for the chin and mouth to trigger arrow release.

Notably, Sheetal's daily practice regimen evolved from shooting 50 to 100 arrows to a staggering 300 arrows per day as her strength and technique advanced. Six months into her archery journey, she earned a silver medal at the Para Open Nationals in Sonipat and even finished fourth in competition with able-bodied archers at the Open Nationals. Sheetal Devi's remarkable achievements serve as a symbol of what determination and resilience can achieve, inspiring many to overcome their own challenges and reach for the stars.