JAMMU, Nov 5: Jammu and Kashmir’s armless female archer, Sheetal Devi, joined Rakesh Kumar to bag a gold medal in compound open archery event at the Asian Para Games being held at China.
The mixed pair defeated the hosts to clinch gold for India. Sheetal and Rakesh faced Chinese pair Yueshan and Xinliang.
Sheetal is the ‘first female archer without arms to compete internationally’, according to the sport’s governing body, World Archery.
Last week at the Asian Para Games, she bagged not one but three medals, including a gold, in different categories.
She won a silver in the women’s compound and two medals in the mixed doubles and women’s individual category.
Sheetal is sixteen years old and hails from the remote Loidhar village in Kishtwar district of Jammu region.
Sheetal was born with Phocomelia, a rare congenital disorder that causes under-developed limbs.
“Initially, I could not even lift the bow properly. But, after practising for a couple of months, it became easier,” Sheetal told The Indian Express in an interview.
“My parents always had faith in me. My friends in the village also supported me. The only thing I didn’t like was the look on people’s faces when they realised that I don’t have arms. These medals prove that I am special. These medals are not just mine, but of the whole country,” the Indian para-shooter added.