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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian female medallist shooter at an Olympics or Paralympics

Avani Lekhara, at 19, creates history by winning gold and becoming the first Indian woman shooter to win a medal at the stage of the Olympics or Paralympics.

Indian Para Shooter Avani Lekhara

Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian female shooter to win gold at either an Olympics or a Paralympics (Source: World Para Shooting)


Sohinee Basu

Updated: 30 Aug 2021 11:28 AM GMT

At the Tokyo Paralympics, Indian para athletes are knocking away on the doors of history as they continue to shatter records, make new ones, and adorn themselves with laurels and medals at the prestigious quadrennial event.

After an incredible Sunday and a National Sports Day that saw the Indian Paralympians win 3 medals - 2 silvers and 1 bronze, Monday morning also began on the sweetest of notes as Avani Lekhara stormed in to win a gold - India's very first yellow metal at the Tokyo Paralympics and most definitely, the first female Indian Paralympian or Olympian to achieve this golden feat as she topped the table with 249.6 in the 10m Air Rifle SH1 shooting category.

Just 19 years of age, Avani packed in a surprise punch in her event and looked confident from beginning to finish, unflinching en route to her golden triumph. With this incredible victory, Indians can heave a sigh of relief as Avani's gold is acting as the much-needed balm after India's disappointing outing at the Tokyo Olympics with shooting.

Avani, by scoring 249.6 in the final round ended up creating a new Paralympic record and also equalled the World Record for shooting in her category and is helping us get over the losses suffered by the star-studded Indian Olympic shooting contingent of Manu Bhaker, Rahi Sarnobhat, Saurabh Chaudhury, among others.

"I can't describe this feeling, I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world. It's unexplainable," an elated Lekhara said, after the win. "I'm so happy I could be the one to contribute it. Hopefully there's a lot of medals more to come," the 19-year-old desired.

Once again, this feat is not restricted to shooting alone as Avani, with her nerves of steel has also become the only Indian woman to win gold at either an Olympics or a Paralympics.

"I was just saying one thing, that I have to take one shot at a time. There's nothing else 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 said reflecting on her final.

The fact that women power in both para and non-para sports is on the rise is no more a secret especially after such stunning performances that bring goosebumps and tears of joy for the Indian sports enthusiast!

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