Sheetal Devi becomes World No. 1 para archer in latest World Archery rankings
(Courtesy : World Archery)
Fellow Indians Rakesh Kumar and Sarita also made progress in the rankings.
On the back of a successful Asian Para Games and Asian Para Archery Championships campaign, India’s armless archer Sheetal Devi has climbed two positions to become the new World No. 1 in women’s compound open category according to the latest rankings released by World Archery on Tuesday.
Renowned for her distinctive technique of drawing the bow and releasing the arrow using her legs and mouth, Sheetal Devi has created ripples across the global archery community.
In the latest rankings, Sheetal Devi emerged as the top ranked para-archer in women’s compound open category, after amassing a formidable score of 230 points, thereby outpacing Jane Karla Gogel of Brazil, who is at second with 195 points.
Originating from the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheetal is the pioneer among female archers to compete on the international stage without the use of arms. Born with phocomelia, a rare congenital anomaly resulting in limb hypoplasia, Sheetal’s odyssey in the realm of archery is a beacon of inspiration.
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Unearthed by the Indian Army at a youth-centric event in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir in 2021, Sheetal was accorded the requisite exposure and rigorous training. She dazzled the archery fraternity by clinching a silver medal at the World Para Archery Championships in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
Her meteoric rise continued unabated at the Asian Para Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China, where she bagged a trio of medals. Sheetal scripted history by becoming the maiden Indian woman to secure a double gold haul in a singular edition of the Asian Para Games.
Sheetal Devi also bagged the title of Best Youth Athlete of the Year, awarded by the Asian Paralympic Committee at a ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 25th November. This distinguished honor marked her as the first Indian recipient, adding a significant milestone to her illustrious journey.
Apart from Sheetal Devi, Rakesh Kumar who clinched a hat-trick of gold medals at the Asian Para Archery Championships also climbed two placed to be ranked third in compound men open category while fellow Indian Sarita made a huge leap of seven positions to move to the sixth spot in individual women’s compound.