Sportstar Aces Awards 2024 | Double delight for para archer Sheetal Devi as she shines the brightest on the night of stars

Updated - February 09, 2024 06:57 am IST

Published - February 09, 2024 02:19 am IST - MUMBAI

Inspiring journey: Sheetal’s coach Abhilasha narrates her ward’s incredible story as Anand, right, Paes and Sportstar Editor Ayon Sengupta listen avidly.

Inspiring journey: Sheetal’s coach Abhilasha narrates her ward’s incredible story as Anand, right, Paes and Sportstar Editor Ayon Sengupta listen avidly. | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

 Sheetal Devi caught the imagination of a country with her incredible show at the Asian Para Games last year. The 17-year-old archer hitting the bull’s-eye with her feet at Hangzhou was undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable moments for Indian sport.

Not surprisingly, it won the Sportstar Aces Award for the Moment of the Year. She also took home the Sportstar of the Year (Female) Award.

Even among the galaxy of stars, including five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Mohammed Shami, Chandu Borde and Pravin Amre, former track queen P.T. Usha, tennis aces Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna, at the ball room of Hotel Taj Mahal shone brightly. When she received the awards on the stage, she got some of the loudest cheers of the night.

Sheetal, who was born without upper limbs, recalled her inspiring journey after she grew up in a village in Jammu and “I loved to go to school and I learnt to write with my legs,” she said. “For me, my legs are my hands.”

After receiving the International Icon Award, Sri Lankan cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan also spoke about how inspiring she is.

Sheetal also got a pleasant surprise when she was presented with a painting of her by Anand’s son Akhil. “You have inspired many people, and Akhil was one of them,” Anand said.

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