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Sheetal Devi wins silver at able-bodied event at Khelo India National Meet 2024

The 17-year-old para-archer competed with able-bodied junior archers in the individual compound archery event final. She lost to Ekta Rani in the final.

Sheetal Devi wins silver at able-bodied event at Khelo India National Meet 2024

Sheetal Devi at the Khelo India National Meet 2024. (Photo credit: SAI Media) 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 April 2024 10:06 AM GMT

17-year-old compound archer Sheetal Devi won a silver medal in the able-bodied individual compound archery event final at the 2024 Khelo India National Meet at the DDA Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi, on Wednesday.

She lost out to Haryana's Ekta Rani with a score of 138-140 in the final.

Sheetal, an archer without arms who used her legs to shoot, had previously won two gold and a silver at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Para Games and was awarded the Arjuna award in recognition of her achievement.

She also won silver in the open women’s compound archery event at the World Archery Para Championships 2023 in the Czech Republic in July last year. She was the first female armless archer to win a medal at the Para World Championships.

The medal also helped Sheetal obtain a quota for India for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Born with a rare condition called phocomelia, she is the first and currently the only international para-archery champion without arms.

Sheetal believes her performance in the Khelo India event will help her prepare for the challenges ahead.

"This result will help me more going ahead in the international platforms and the Olympics," Sheetal was quoted as saying by Sports Authority of India.

Her coach Abhilasha said, "Taking part in the national ranking tournament, alongside able-bodied competitors, is giving training and competition exposure which is much-needed prior to the Olympics."

"We have to go abroad for exposure but we are getting the same experience here itself. Domestic-level tournaments like these are helping the cause," Abhilasha added.

Ekta hails Sheetal

On her part, Ekta Rani said she felt inspired by Sheetal's presence in the competition. "I have faced-off with Sheetal previously so I had the match experience against her. We faced off in Patiala last December as well. It feels good to play against her because she is an armless archer and it gives a lot of motivation as well," Ekta said.

Ekta bagged the prize money of Rs 50,000 whereas Sheetal received Rs 40,000.

The tournament was conducted in three categories -- senior, junior and sub-junior in recurve and compound. Eighty-seven archers competed in this event.

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