Shooter Avani Lekhara scripted history as she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics, as she triumphed in the R-2 women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event at the Tokyo Games on Monday.
Lekhara is only the fourth Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Paralympics after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016) and high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu (2016).
The 19-year-old from Jaipur, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, stormed to gold with a world record equalling total of 249.6, which is also a new Paralympic record.
The teenager’s performance was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
“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,” Modi tweeted.
“Gold it is! Brilliant display by @AvaniLekhara to win India its first Paralympic gold medal in shooting. Immensely proud ! Many Congratulations on your shot at history ! #Praise4Para,” tweeted Abhinav Bindra, India’s first individual gold medallist at the Olympic Games.
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