EntertainmentExtraordinary accomplishment of a 16-year-old. Nothing is truly impossible

Extraordinary accomplishment of a 16‑year-old. Nothing is truly impossible

Incredible performance by Sheetal Devi
Incredible performance by Sheetal Devi
Images source: © X

6:37 AM EDT, October 28, 2023

This narrative serves as a reminder that nothing is truly impossible. A 16-year-old from India demonstrated this very notion when she clinched a gold medal in archery at the Asian Paralympic Games, all despite the absence of her hands. The hallmark of this victory lies in the unique style she used to achieve it.

Sheetal Devi, a mere 16-year-old, has rewritten Indian sports history. The young girl has become the first-ever to win two gold medals at the Asian Paralympic Games in her country's history. One of these gold medals was won in the mixed team event, while the other was her individual coup. Additionally, she secured a silver medal in the women's team competition. However, it's her dynamic performance in the individual event that has captivated the world's attention.

The teenage athlete astonishes the sports world

The video of Sheetal Devi shooting arrows with her feet has become a sensation across social media platforms. In spite of suffering from phocomelia—a rare condition that cost her her hands—she refuses to be hindered from excelling in archery. She utilizes her feet and mouth, a technique that proved remarkably effective as she hit six tens consecutively in the grand finale.

Far from being defeated by her disability, the young girl embraced her situation and adapted accordingly. Merely two years into her training, she ascended to a mastery level, a feat that was reaffirmed during the competition in Hangzhou. Reflecting on her initial struggles, in a conversation with The Indian Express, she admits that her journey was anything but easy.

"Initially, I couldn’t even lift the bow properly. However, after a few lonesome months of practice, things began to ease," recounted Sheetal Devi.
"My parents never lost faith in me. My friends from the village were also supportive. Yet, people's reactions when they realized I held no hands was disconcerting. My medals serve as a testament to my uniqueness," the 16-year-old added.

She Competes Among the Able-Bodied

The triumphs of Sheetal Devi at the Asian Paralympic Games are not her only achievements. In July, she became the first woman without hands to clinch a medal in para-archery in Pilsen, the Czech Republic. It wouldn't be far-fetched to suggest that her performance could have been even more remarkable, had she not directly proceeded to the tournament from a hospital, owing to an illness she caught during her trip from India.

The young archer has also competed against able-bodied individuals throughout her career. She encountered no difficulties in either reaching the podium or securing victories in these competitions as well. Currently, her mentor is the renowned Paralympian Matts Stutzman.

Related content