Meet Jyoti Baliyan: Farmer's Daughter Is The Only Indian Woman Archer At Tokyo Paralympics

Baliyan's father wanted her to be a volleyball player. But destiny had different plans.

Ria Das
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Who is Jyoti Baliyan
Who Is Jyoti Baliyan: Uttar Pradesh's para-archer Jyoti Baliyan, has qualified for Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020. Baliyan, who trained at Shrine Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board Sports Complex, Katra, joined the ensemble of Indian para-archers as the country is sending 54 athletes to the Paralympic Games - the most it has ever sent. She is the only woman archer from the country going to Tokyo.

Baliyan has been one of India's consistent performers over the last few years. While she could not participate in recent tournaments due to COVID-19 restrictions, the archer puts India in strong contention for a medal in the team and individual archery events at the Paralympic Games. Currently, Jyoti Baliyan is the country's biggest medal prospect.

Baliyan will compete in the Women's Compound Individual Open and Compound Mixed Team Open on August 27.

Who is Jyoti Baliyan?

Hailing from a middle-class family in Muzaffarnagar, the 27-year-old has been training under the guidance of coach Kuldeep Vedwan at the sports complex in Katra for the last four years. Born into a farmer's family, resident of Goela village, Muzaffarnagar, Baliyan has been practicing archery for 12-long years.

Tragedy struck when she was given a wrong injection in one of her legs at a very young age that resulted in her having life-long polio. Owing to the condition, the young woman found it difficult to live up to her father’s dream of her becoming a volleyball player. However, she did not give up her dream of becoming a sportsperson and took up archery instead, she had earlier revealed in an ">interview.

She started playing archery in the year 2009 and went on to become one of the top para-archers in the world. In January this year, the world's top-10 archers were invited to the seventh Fazza Para Archery Tournament held in Dubai, in which Baliyan also participated. At the same time, she secured 17th rank in the World Championship held in the Netherlands and was selected for Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020, Jargan reported.

The farmer's daughter won a silver medal in the year 2017 in Beijing, China. She also won the gold medal at the World championships in Tamil Nadu. She also made it to the Asian Para Games, Incheon and Para Champions Programme 2018-19. Baliyan's journey to excel in archery was marred by several challenges, although help arrived, when she needed it the most.

District Magistrate IAS Selva Kumari J had encouraged her in her pursuit of archery and provided her a bow worth four lakh rupees when Baliyan was struggling financially. Baliyan's village now eagerly waits for its daughter to bring back gold from Tokyo. Read about another inspiring woman archer here.

Feature Image Credit: Twitter

Women archers in India Jyoti Baliyan Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020