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Sheetal Devi gives world champion a scare as armless archer bags silver in Khelo India national archery meet


New Delhi, April 17
Para Asian Games gold medallist Sheetal Devi honed her archery skills while competing alongside able-bodied archers. She was at it again as the armless archer competed at the Khelo India national ranking meet for women at the DDA Yamuna Sports Complex.

A strong medal contender at the Paris Paralympics in August this year, Sheetal finished behind Haryana's Ekta Rani in the final shoot-off in the sub-junior girls’ section. The teenager from Jammu lost 138-140 but not before giving Ekta, a world youth champion, a mighty scare.

While Ekta bagged the prize money of Rs 50,000, Sheetal received a cash prize of Rs 40,000.

"This result will help me more going ahead in the international platforms and the Olympics,” said Jammu girl Sheetal. Her personal coach Abhilasha, added, "Taking part in the national ranking tournament, alongside able-bodied competitors, is giving training and competition exposure which is much-needed prior to the Olympics.

"We have to go abroad for exposure but we are getting the same experience here itself. Domestic-level tournaments like these are helping the cause. This is helping Sheetal’s Olympic preparation," said Abhilasha.

For Ekta, it was a challenging experience for sure. A gold medallist at the Archery Youth World Championships 2023 in Ireland, Ekta said: "I have faced-off with Sheetal previously so I had the match experience against her. We faced off in Patiala last December as well. It feels good to play against her because she is an armless archer and it gives a lot of motivation as well."

The Khelo India ranking archery tournament was conducted in three categories - senior, junior and sub-junior in recurve and compound. Eighty-seven archers competed in this event.