Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Shooter Avani Lekhara created sporting history after becoming the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics gold medal.
- The 19-year-old from Jaipur clinched gold in the women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 event on 30 August 2021.
- She won the gold medal with a total score of 249.6 in the final.
- She equaled Iryna Shchetnik’s world record that was set in 2018.
- Cuiping Zhang of China won the silver medal with a score of 248.9 while Iryna Shchetnik won the bronze medal with a score of 227.5.
- She qualified for the final finishing 7th in the qualification round with a total score of 621.7.
- Lekhara became the fourth Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Paralympics after swimmer Murlikant Petkar in 1972, javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia in 2004 and 2016 and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan in 2016.
Note: In the SH1 Rifle category, shooters are able to hold a gun with arms.
The athletes have 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.
- In yet another proud moment for India, discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya clinched silver in the final F56 category.
- Yogesh came up with the best attempt of 44.38m to finish at the 2nd spot.
- Brazil’s defending champion, reigning world champion and world record holder Claudiney Batista dos Santos won the gold with a best throw of 45.59m while Leonardo Diaz Aldana (43.36m) of Cuba took the bronze.
Note: In the F56 classification, athletes have full arm and trunk muscle power.
Pelvic stability is provided by some to full ability to press the knees together.
India’s Medal Tally:
- India has won 19 medals so far across all 11 editions of the Tokyo Paralympics Games since 1960.
- It comprises 5 gold, 8 silver, and 6 bronze.
About Avani Lekhara:
- Avani Lekhara, born on November 8, 2001, is an Indian Paralympic athlete of the shooting event.
- She suffered Traumatic Paraplegia caused by an accident in 2012.
- She has been currently ranked at World No. 5 in Women’s 10m Air Rifle standing (SH1). She competed in the 2018 Asian Para Games and has been getting support from GoSports Foundation through the Para Champions Programme.
- She got inspired after reading the autobiography of Olympic gold medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra, so she pursued shooting.
About Yogesh Kathuniya:
- He is a son of an Army man.
- Kathuniya suffered a paralytic attack at the age of eight which left him with coordination impairments in his limbs.
- He created a world record in the F36 category in his first-ever international competition in 2018 at the Para-athletics Grand Prix in Berlin.
- He won a bronze medal in the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai with the best throw of 42.51m which also booked him a Tokyo berth.