Meet Pooja: India’s 1st Paralympic archer
India has sent a team to each Paralympic Games since 1984.
The Rio 2016 Paralympics marks the first time in history that an Indian athlete competes in the para archery event.
Pooja qualified a spot in the recurve women’s open competition at the final world qualifier in the Czech Republic in 2016, and said she was “so happy” to make the trip to Rio.
The 25-year-old suffered from polio as a child, leaving her with impairment in her legs. She started out as a para discus athlete, but then switched to archery in 2010.
“First, I discussed it with other athletes and then I saw the shooting,” she explained. “I love shooting. Everything about it… the aiming, shooting. All of it.”
She trains at Rajiv Ghandi stadium, in Rohtak, the city in which she grew up and where she gained her Masters in Library Sciences from Baba Mastnath University.
The oldest of four children, Pooja said her family was ecstatic for her to compete in Rio.
“I will do my best,” she said, when asked what she wanted to achieve at the Games.
“I am the first archer to qualify for the Paralympics and I am very proud.”