Avani Lekhara makes history as India’s first woman to win gold at the Paralympics

Avani Lekhara won gold

Shooter Avani Lekhara made history on Monday when she became India’s first female athlete to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Record-breaking win: Lekhara, 19, set a new Paralympic record and equaled Iryna Shchetnik’s 2018 world record after scoring 249.6 in the women’s 10-meter air rifle standing final event, according to NDTV.

  • “I can’t describe this feeling, I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable,” the 19-year-old told CNN.
  • Lekhara’s victory on Monday also marks India’s first gold and fifth overall medal at the Tokyo Games.
  • “I was just saying one thing, that I have to take one shot at a time,” she said. “There’s nothing else that matters now, just take one shot at a time and just finish it. I just think that I have to follow the process. Beyond that, I try not to think about the score or the medal tally.”
  • Lekhara bested China’s Zhang Cuiping and Ukraine’s Shchetnik, who won silver and bronze, respectively. She said she is happy to bring a gold medal home for her country.
  • Lekhara became India’s fourth Paralympics gold medalist after Murlikant Petkar in 1972, javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia in 2004 and 2016 and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan in 2016.

  • The teen’s gold win at the Tokyo Paralympic Games is her first major international medal after finishing fourth in the last world championship in 2019. The event was also her first Paralympic Games.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who congratulated Lekhara on Twitter.

Other details: Lekhara, a law student, was 11 when she sustained spinal cord injuries in a 2012 car accident, BBC reported. She took up shooting with encouragement from her father in 2015 and after reading Olympian Abhinav Bindra’s autobiography.

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  • The teen competed in the SH1 category, the class “designated to athletes with lower limb impairment.”

Featured Image via Jatantra TV

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