Sheetal Devi's Triumph: Overcoming Phocomelia for 3 Asian Para Medals.
By: Babita Singh
Sheetal Devi, a 16-year-old armless archer from Loidhar village in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, clinched three medals at the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China.
Sheetal's journey as a para-athlete began just two years ago, despite being born with Phocomelia, a condition that led to under-developed limbs.
Sheetal's early years spent climbing trees in her native village helped strengthen her upper body and laid the foundation for her remarkable athleticism in archery.
Sheetal's talent in archery caught the attention of scouts during a local event organized by the Indian Army in 2021.
After a failed attempt to use a prosthetic arm, her mentors and guide had to explore alternative methods to support her archery endeavors.
Sheetal drew inspiration from American para athlete Matt Strutzman, who had used his legs in the archery event at the 2012 London Paralympics, motivating her to persevere in the sport.
Coaches Abhilasha Chaudhary and Kuldeep Vedwan devised a unique system—chin and mouth-controlled string mechanism—for Sheetal's successful archery career.
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