On Monday, shooter Avani Lekhara made history by being the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics, finishing first in the R-2 women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event in Tokyo.
The 19-year-old completed with a total of 249.6, which is a new Paralympic record as well as a world record. At the Asaka Shooting Range, Lekhara defeated 2016 Rio Games gold medalist Cuiping Zhangh of China, who took silver with a total of 248.9.
Iryna Shchetnik of Ukraine, the world number one and reigning world champion, claimed bronze with a score of 227.5.
Shooters in the SH1 Rifle category can hold a gun in their hands. Athletes with limb impairments, such as amputations or paraplegia, compete. Some competitors will participate while seated, while others will compete while standing.
Since a vehicle accident in 2012, Lekhara has been confined to a wheelchair. After winning a 50-meter rifle event in the UAE in February 2019, she qualified for the Paralympics. Since 2017, the current world number four has won a number of World Cup medals. She was also the holder of a couple of junior world records. She has been winning all colours of medals for Rajasthan since her maiden National Shooting Championship in 2015.
Avani is a legal student at the University of Rajasthan, where she is pursuing a five-year degree. Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 3 in Jaipur was where she finished her education. She was one of her school’s best students. “Life consists not in having good cards, but in playing those you possess well,” she says.