Avani Lekhara won Indias first medal in shooting at the Tokyo Paralympics in the women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 event on Monday. Lekhara won the gold medal with a total score of 249.6 in the final, equalling the world record. This is Indias fourth medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games so far.
The 19-year-old also scripted history becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics. Overall, she is the fourth Indian athlete to win a Paralympics gold after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016), and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).
"I cant describe this feeling, Im feeling like Im on top of the world. Its unexplainable," Lekhara was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. "Im so happy I could be the one to contribute it. Hopefully, theres a lot of medals more to come," she added.
"I was just saying one thing, that I have to take one shot at a time. Theres nothing else that matters now, just take one shot at a time and just finish it.
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"I just think that I have to follow the process. Beyond that, I try not to think about the score or the medal tally," she further said.
She qualified for the final finishing 7th in the qualification round with a total score of 621.7. Avani staged a good recovery after a slow start to advance to the finals of the showpiece event.
She registered good scores of 104.9, 104.8 in her third and fourth attempt to be in the game before scoring 104.1 in the final round of qualification. The Indian shooter will now lock horns in the finals of the showpiece event.
In the SH1 Rifle category, shooters are able to hold a gun with arms. The athletes have an impairment in their legs, for example, amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes will compete in a seated position, while others will compete in a standing position
Hard-earned and well-deserved Gold: PM Modi lauds Avani Lekhara.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated shooter Avani Lekhara for her first-place finish in the ongoing Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Lekharas gold is Indias first medal in shooting in the current edition of the Paralympics.
"Phenomenal performance @AvaniLekhara! Congratulations on winning a hard-earned and well-deserved Gold, made possible due to your industrious nature and passion towards shooting. This is truly a special moment for Indian sports. Best wishes for your future endeavors," PM Modi tweeted minutes after she struck gold in the Japanese capital.
Phenomenal performance @AvaniLekhara! Congratulations on winning a hard-earned and well-deserved Gold, made possible due to your industrious nature and passion towards shooting. This is truly a special moment for Indian sports. Best wishes for your future endeavours.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 30, 2021
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Deepa Malik, who heads the Paralympic Committee of India, and was a medallist herself at the 2016 Rio Games, also congratulated Lekhara. "Its a Gold! Heartiest congratulations to @AvaniLekharafor winning Indias first medal in #Parashooting. The young shooter kept her calm and won the medal by equalling world record," Malik tweeted.
Its a Gold! Heartiest congratulations to @Avanilekhara for winning Indias first medal in #ParaShooting. The young shooter kept her calm & won the medal by equalling World record.@narendramodi @ianuragthakur@Media_SAI @Paralympics @ShootingPara #Praise4Para #Paralympics pic.twitter.com/h6JqIXehsv— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) August 30, 2021
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The young shooters family also expressed their happiness over her achievement. "For me, there can be no greater happiness than this. This is the result of her hard work. I hope she brings a gold medal in the 50m shooting as well," her grandfather, GR Lekhara, told news agency ANI.
For me, there can be no greater happiness than this. This is the result of her hard work. I hope she brings a gold medal in 50m shooting also: GR Lekhara, grandfather of Avani Lekhana who won a gold medal in womens 10m AR Standing SH1 at Tokyo Paralympics pic.twitter.com/Z5osWv9PRC— ANI (@ANI) August 30, 2021
Lekharas gold came in the womens 10m air rifle standing SH1 event. Her total score in the final stood at 249.6. She qualified for the final with a seventh-place finish and a total score of 621.7 in the qualification round.
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