India’s Devi seeds top at para archery international in Dubai

Sheetal Devi shooting in Dubai.

Indian 17-year-old Sheetal Devi topped compound women’s qualifying at the Fazza para archery world ranking event yesterday, shooting 679 out of a possible 720 points to total one point more than Öznur Cüre, the archer who beat her to the world title last year in Pilsen.

Jonathon Milne (Australia), Elisabetta Mijno (Italy), Samuel Molina (Mexico), Mohammadreza Zandi (Iran) and Tereza Brandtlova (Czech Republic) also collcted top seeds.

Armless archer Devi, who became Asian Para Games Champion at the end of 2023, dropped just 12 points over her first 36 arrows in Dubai (348/360), and did just enough over a blustery back half to remain in pole.

“It’s nice to be back on the shooting line. I love to shoot competition,” she said. “There was some wind today but it’s okay for me.”

Devi is expected to compete at her first Paralympic Games later this summer and India has already secured the maximum two quota places in the compound women’s category for Paris 2024.

Plenty of nations still need tickets – and will compete for the handful remaining during this week’s event, which doubles up as a continental qualifier for the Africa and Oceania regions and the final world qualifier, with two spots available in each of the six competition categories (recurve, compound and W1 for men and women).

Iran’s Mohammadreza Zandi shot 646 to lead the W1 men – two points up on second seed Jason Tabansky of the USA – in both the world ranking event and the qualifier for the Paralympics.

Two-time Paralympian Shaun Anderson, who shoots in the same category, qualified South Africa a quota spot after yesterday’s 72 arrows. He shot 585 but is the lone W1 men’s competitor in the regional quota event for Africa and Oceania.

Weather will remain a factor throughout the week, with an unusual storm scheduled to hit on Tuesday.

“I had some difficulty at the start in the swirling wind,” said Elisabetta Mijno. The world record holder was the only recurve woman to break 600 points with 630.

“It’s the first event of the year. I am to shoot well.”

Strong wind is particularly challenging for some para archers, particularly those in wheelchairs and the W1 category, who have limited core control making it more difficult to balance.

Competition in Dubai continues with eliminations through Tuesday, Paralympic qualifying on Wednesday and finals on Thursday.

Top seeds: Fazza