Devi and Jawkar rewarded with Sportstar Aces Awards

 Sheetal Devi and Prathamesh Jawkar awarded with Sportstar Aces Awards 2024.

India’s armless archer Sheetal Devi and Prathamesh Jawkar were recognised for their achievements in 2023 at the Sportstar Aces Awards 2024 ceremony held at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai on 8 February.

The Aces Awards launched in 2019 by Sportstar, an Indian monthly sports magazine, annually honour major achievements across all areas of sports in India.

Jawkar was named the Male Young Achiever of the Year following a breakthrough Archery World Cup victory at only his second circuit appearance.

“This evening will forever remain a core memory of mine,” the compound archer said. “I feel really tiny being in the same room as these heroes and legends of the sporting world, and it motivates and gives me the vision to create my own legacy.”

The 20-year-old compound archer was also silver medallist at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final and Asian Games team gold medallist later in 2023.

Para archer Devi was chosen by the jury as the Female Sportstar of the Year and was also the popular choice for the Moment of the Year in recognition of a successful international debut season. 

“The best moment [in 2023] was when I won the individual gold at the Para Asian Games, the tricolour was flying high,” said the 17-year-old. “My dream is to win the gold in Paris too.”

The Indian compound women’s team will be world champions in 2023.

Devi became world number one in the compound women open division in November following a silver medal at the World Archery Para Championships and three medals at the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou – individual and mixed team gold, and team silver.

“When I went to school, I started writing with my leg. I do all my work with my legs. I consider my legs to be my hands,” the first international female armless archer explained.

The new distinction adds to the Devi’s recent World Archery’s para woman of the year title, Asian Paralympic Committee’s best youth athlete honour and Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest sporting honour.

Jyothi Surekha Vennam, named female athlete of the year by ESPN India earlier this year, was also among the five nominees for the Female Sportstar of the Year title together with Devi.

And the compound women’s trio of Vennam, Aditi Gopichand Swami and Parneet Kaur, who made history in 2023 securing India’s maiden gold medal at the World Archery Championships, was nominated in the popular category for the National Team of the Year award.

The sixth edition of the Sportstar Aces Awards recognised 24 prize categories, including five popular choices, 16 jury awards and three special trophies, in 2024.

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