New Delhi [India], April 18 (ANI): Competing with able-bodied archers was part of her growing up. The Hangzhou Para Asian Games gold medallist Sheetal Devi was at it again as the wonder armless archer narrowly missed a top of the podium finish at the Khelo India NTPC national ranking meet for women at the DDA Yamuna Sports Complex, Surajmal Vihar, here last week.

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 lost 138-140 but not before giving Ekta, a world youth champion, a mighty scare.

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"This result will help me more going ahead in the international platforms and the Olympics," said Jammu girl Sheetal. Her 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.

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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."

"During the final, however, I was just focused on my own performance," revealed Ekta. While Ekta bagged the prize money of Rs 50,000, Sheetal received a cash prize of Rs 40,000.

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.(ANI)

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