Indian paralympic shooter Avani Lekhara on Monday, August 30, made athletic history by becoming India's first gold medalist in the women's 10m air rifle standing SH1 category at the Tokyo Paralympics.
With a total score of 249.6 in the final event of the women's 10m air rifle standing SH1,19-year-old Lekhara set a paralympic record while also matching the world record. She qualified for the final with a total score of 621.7; after a sluggish start. China's Cuiping Zhang won silver with 248.9 and Ukraine's Iryna Shchetnik took bronze with a total of 227.5.
She is from Jaipur, Rajasthan, and trains at the JDA Shooting Range in the Pink City. In 2012, a major car accident left her paralysed waist down.
With Lekhara's medal, India has now won four medals in the Paralympic Games, putting the country on track for its best performance ever.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate the para-athlete.
While Lekhara has been receiving praises from across the country for accomplishing the feat, the chairman of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, in a tweet announced that the first customised SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) for specially-abled people would be dedicated to Lekhara.
"A week ago, Deepa Malik suggested that we develop SUVs for those with disabilities. Like the one she uses in Tokyo. I requested my colleague Velu, who heads Development, to rise to that challenge. Well, Velu, I'd like to dedicate and gift the first one you make to Avani Lekhara," Mahindra tweeted.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced a cash reward of ₹3 crore for the shooter.
Yogesh Kathuniya Bags Silver Medal In Men's Discus Throw
India has earned yet another silver medal in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 24-year-old Yogesh Kathuniya, a commerce graduate from Delhi, clinched a silver medal in Men's Discus Throw F56 final (with a fantastic 44.38m throw).
Claudiney Batista dos Santos of Brazil won gold with a best throw of 45.59 metres, while Leonardo Diaz Aldana of Cuba took bronze with a throw of 43.36 metres.
When Kathuniya, the son of an Army officer, was eight years old, he suffered a paralytic attack that left him with coordination impairments in his limbs.
In his first-ever international competition in 2018, at Berlin's Para-athletics Grand Prix, he set a world record in the F36 category.
With a best throw of 42.51 metres, he won bronze at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai, securing a spot in the Tokyo berth.