Avani Lekhara has created history by winning India’s first medal in shooting at the Tokyo Paralympics. She won a gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 event with a total score of 249.6 matching the on Monday.
The 19-year-old has become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics. Overall, she is the fourth Indian athlete to win a gold medal at Paralympics after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016), and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).
“I can’t describe this feeling, I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable,” Lekhara told to the news agency PTI. “I’m so happy I could be the one to contribute it. Hopefully, there’s a lot of medals more to come,” she added.
Avani Lekhara’s Performance
Avani started slowly and cleared the qualification round at 7th position but turned tables in the final event.
The 19-year-old from Jaipur sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012. Avani Lekhara finished with a world record-equalling total of 249.6, which is also a new Paralympic record.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded the teenager’s performance and congratulated her via a tweet.
The PM also spoke to her over the phone.
She will also be competing in the mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1, the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1 and the mixed 50m Rifle Prone event.
In the SH1 Rifle category, the athletes have an impairment in their legs, for example, amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes compete in a seated position, while others compete in a standing position.