At age two, most children are still mastering their gross motor skills, yet Dolly Shivani Cherukuri of India has already set a national archery record. According to The Times of India, earlier this month and just days before her third birthday, Dolly completed a challenge that involved her shooting 72 arrows at two different targets, scoring a total of 200 points. Granted, the targets were placed at a relatively close distance—only 16 and 22 feet away. Still, the accomplishment has earned the toddler a national record according to the India Book of Records.
“She has become the youngest in the country to achieve the feat,” Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, a record-keeping official, told the Times.
For Dolly and her family, the record is only a stepping stone. Born to a family of professional archers and competitors, Dolly was trained from birth to use the bow and arrow. Her father, Cherukuri Satyanarayana, runs an archery academy in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. In 2010, he and his wife lost their son, a competition archer and coach, to an automobile accident. When Dolly was conceived, her parents began her training almost immediately.
“When we came to know that the baby was on her way we decided to mold her as an archer,” Cherukuri Satyanarayana told the BBC. “The preparations started when she was in the womb itself.”
Special, lightweight arrows were built for her use, and Dolly practiced on the small bows she was capable of drawing. According to archery expert Gunjan Abrol, children her age should only train for up to three hours each day, or the pressure would prove to be detrimental. Yet at an age at which most children cannot even tie their own shoes, Dolly is already practicing expert archery shots. Her family said that the Guinness Book of World Records is their next target.
“My daughter achieved the feat we have been dreaming… I can’t express in words how happy my family is,” her father said.
You can see Dolly shoot below: