Khelo India Para Games 2023: Meet Romika Sharma, The Aid Behind Sheetal Devi’s Success

Presently competing in the Khelo India Para Games, Sheetal Devi became the first armless archer in the world to win two golds and one silver medal at the Asian Para Games 2022. Driving her success was her support staff, including her aid, Romika Sharma. But who is she?

Romika Sharma (left) and Sheetal Devi (right)

In late October 2023, Sheetal Devi pierced her arrows masterfully through the glass ceiling and, by hitting the targets she had been wanting to hit all her life, became the first armless archer in the world to win two golds and a silver medal at the Asian Para Games. Standing alongside her every step of the way was her aid, and an archer herself, Romika Sharma. (More Sports News)

Romika remains a very important figure in Sheetal's life. While the inspirational teenager turns heads around the world, Romika quietly does the job as one of the most integral, multi-tasking figures in Sheetal’s support team.

Sheetal, meanwhile, is competing in the Compound Women’s Open category at the Para Archery event of the Khelo India Para Games. She has already made it to the finals, scheduled for Saturday, December 16, 2023. 

“Sheetal was not competing for a while after the Asian Para Games but now I’m happy with her scores here. She has made it to the final in a good fashion and Sheetal tells me that she is happy with the arrangements here at the Khelo India Para Games. There is no difference between this competition and international tournaments,” Romika said.

Romika, a compound archer herself, is the escort of Sheetal during international events. The J&K duo is currently at the JLN Stadium and the chemistry between them cannot be missed.

“I feel very happy to be Sheetal’s escort. I met her at the Nationals three years back on the request of coach Kuldeep Vedwan and from then, I started being close to her,” Romika mentioned on the sidelines of the Khelo India Para Games.

Apart from helping para athletes during their day-to-day activities, the work of an escort involves off-field assistance as well. Speaking on her everyday work with Sheetal, the 22-year-old adds, “I oversee her practice sessions, carry the arrows, luggages, besides supervising her stretching work as well as ensuing her scoring. Off the field also, I help in feeding her as well as speaking to her whenever she needs a helping hand.

“I feel more like a sister to her [Sheetal] even though I’m a good friend of her,” continues Romika. “Whenever she is travelling anywhere alone, I feel anxious on how she is doing. She is a little ‘ziddi’ (persistent) as well as ‘masoom’ (innocent) and also watches a lot of serials! 

“We are inseparable,” Romika said.

Romika also recalled moments from the Asian Para Games 2022 where Sheetal won three medals (2 gold, 1 silver) and made history, becoming the first armless archer in the world to do so. 

“I was standing just beside her during the last arrows in the Individual Compound final (where Sheetal won the gold). There was tension all around and I missed Kuldeep sir there. But I kept telling her, ‘Tujhe coach ne jo sikhaya, who yaad rakh’ (Remember what coach sir taught you!),” mentions Romika.

As Sheetal Devi continues to inspire countless others with her talent and her determination, it remains imperative that the support structure behind her receives its due credit. Romika Sharma is a part of the same structure, and a pretty significant one. As she continues to carry her incredible work in the shadows, Romika will ensure that when the limelight falls on Sheetal, she is prepared to bask in its glory.