Avani Lekhara becomes India's first ever Paralympics gold medallist

Avani Lekhara becomes India’s first ever Paralympics gold medallist with a world record-equalling display in the 10m air rifle standing final

  • Avani Lekhara made history by winning India’s first ever Paralympic gold medal
  • The 19-year-old Lekhara is competing in her first ever Paralympics for India 
  • India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to offer congratulations

Avani Lekhara became India’s first female Paralympic gold medal winner on Monday, emerging victorious in the 10m air rifle standing final.

The 19-year-old won gold with a score of 249.6, setting a Paralympic record and equalling the world record to create history for her country and for the overall event itself. 

Lekhara edged defending champion Zhang Cuiping of China and Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, who took silver and bronze respectively. 

Avani Lekhara, 19, has become India ‘s first female Paralympic gold medal winner

Her victory also made her India’s first ever medallist, Olympian or Paralympian, in shooting. 

‘I was just saying one thing, that I have to take one shot at a time. There’s nothing else that matters now, just take one shot at a time and just finish it,” she said

‘I just think that I have to follow the process. Beyond that, I try not to think about the score or the medal tally.

‘I can’t describe this feeling, I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable.’

Lekhara was paralysed from the waist down in a car accident when she was 11 years old. 

Lekhara is competing in her first ever Paralympics and blew away the competition 

She is also a law student and is competing in three other competitions for India, so could add more medals to her name before the Paralympics finishes on September 5.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Lekhara’s achievements, saying: Phenomenal performance Avani Lehara! 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.’

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