The saying “where there is a will, there is a way” finds its embodiment in Sheetal Devi, a resident of Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, who has proven this adage unequivocally true. Despite being born without both hands, Sheetal has become an exemplary figure for the entire nation. Her historic achievements include winning three medals, including two golds, in the Asian Para Games held in Hangzhou, China, making her the first Indian woman to achieve such a feat in the same edition.
Sheetal Devi, a 16-year-old from a humble background in Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir, has etched her name in history. Her father works as a farmer, while her mother manages household chores and tends to animals. Sheetal’s journey is even more remarkable considering she was born with a condition called Phocomelia, resulting in the absence of certain body parts. Undeterred by her circumstances, Sheetal embraced life without regrets and aspired to make a mark.
Despite the challenges of growing up in a financially strained family and being born without both hands due to Phocomelia, Sheetal did not let her disability define her. Instead, she decided to pursue archery and embarked on rigorous training. Overcoming the difficulties of training without arms, Sheetal displayed unwavering dedication and efficiency. Using her chest, teeth, and legs, she practiced archery, demonstrating remarkable resilience.
Sheetal’s determination paid off as she recently made history in the Asian Para Games, securing two gold medals and one silver. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, acknowledged her achievements, and a viral photo captured him blessing this promising daughter of Jammu and Kashmir. Not only has Sheetal brought glory to the nation, but she has also garnered praise from influential figures like Anand Mahindra, who offered her any car from his company’s range in recognition of her outstanding performance.
Anand Mahindra commended Sheetal’s achievements in the Para Archery Championship and hailed her as a teacher for overcoming challenges. Inspired by her resilience, he offered Sheetal the opportunity to choose any car from the company’s lineup, which would be customized to her preferences. Sheetal’s success story continues to resonate, earning her the title of the best athlete in Asia from the Asian Paralympic Committee in a ceremony held in Saudi Arabia. She stands as a source of pride for India and a beacon of inspiration for many.