One of the best feelings ever, Sheetal Devi reflects on securing World No.1 ranking
Para Archer Sheetal Devi expresses immense joy at achieving the world no.1 ranking, calling it one of her best feelings.
New Delhi: Sheetal Devi, the world's first-ever female armless archer, is aiming for the Paris Paralympics 2024 after an outstanding year that propelled her to the top spot in the world rankings for compound open category archery.
The 16-year-old, hailing from Loidhar village in Kishtwar district, Jammu and Kashmir, embarked on her international Para-archery career in 2023 in the Czech Republic.
Despite this being her initial foray into the sport, Sheetal achieved remarkable success, participating in four tournaments and securing a gold medal at the Asian Para Games after reaching the finals of all four competitions.
Starting her archery journey with an Elastic band, Sheetal transitioned to a specially designed lighter bow under the guidance of coach Kuldeep.
Overcoming challenges at the beginning of her career, including developing core strength and leg power, Sheetal eventually switched to the main traditional bow, weighing 60 LBS.
"Once she started training with this and developed the strength in her core and her legs, we switched to the main traditional bow, which is tougher even for any regular person," explained Sheetal's coach, Abhilasha Chaudhary.
"I still can't believe that I have reached this far in my career. My initial goal was to become a teacher, but when I met other para-athletes at the Mata Vaishno Devi Archery Center, I got inspired to pursue this sport," Sheetal Devi told The Bridge on the sidelines of the launch of her book.
Reflecting on her journey, she added, "When I first tried this sport, I thought I could never be this good, but I persisted, and my coaches always motivated me, assuring me of success in this sport."
When asked about achieving the world number one ranking, she expressed, "It's one of the best feelings, but I'm not dwelling too much on it. My focus is on winning a Paralympic medal next year and bringing glory to my nation. Currently, my coaches and I are working hard on refining my skills to maintain this level of performance next year."
Sheetal also had a heartfelt message for fellow Para-athletes: "I want to say to all those people who are facing challenges that they should not back out from sports. Even if they are not seeing results immediately, with time and hard work, they will succeed in whatever sport they choose to play."