Shooter Avani Lekhara wins historic gold in Paralympics

Avani Lekhara shot brilliantly to clinch the gold medal in shooting at the Tokyo Paralympics in the 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 India’s fourth medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games so far.

The 19-year-old became the first woman from India to win a Paralympics gold medal. 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 can’t describe this feeling, I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable,” Avani was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. “I’m so happy I could be the one to contribute to it. Hopefully, there are a lot more medals to come,” she added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the young shooter and tweeted, “Phenomenal performance@AvaniLekhara! Congratulations on winning a hard-earned and well-deserved Gold, made possible due to your industrious nature and passion for shooting. This is truly a special moment for Indian sports. Best wishes for your future endeavours.”