Teenage shooting sensation Avani Lekhara has become the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals by claiming the 50m Rifle 3 Position SH1 bronze on 3rd September. She had earlier secured a gold in the ongoing Games.
The 19-year-old who is competing in her debut Games, qualified second for the event with a score of 1176, including 51 inner 10s. Lekhara totalled 445.9 to finish ahead of Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, who let slip her grip on the medal spot with a poor third shot of 9.9 in the elimination.
The gold was claimed by China’s Zhang Cuiping with a new Games record of 457.9, while German Natascha Hiltrop took the silver with a 457.1 in the final.
“It was a tough final but I’m happy to have made it into bronze. I could have done better than this. It’s just what finals do to you,” Lekhara later said about her performance.
Lekhara is also the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold by claiming the top honours in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event. Which was also the first ever shooting medal that India had won in the Games.
“There are a lot of things on which I have to work, and I will definitely do better than this next time. There were a lot of distractions but I gave my 100 per cent to this,” she said, talking about the celebrations that followed her gold medal.
The Jaipur-based shooter had set a world record equalling total of 249.6, which was also a new Paralympic record.
Earlier Joginder Singh Sodhi was the only Indian to win multiple medals in the Paralympics when he won one silver and two bronze medals in the 1984 Paralympics. He won silver for shot put, while the two bronze medals were won in discus and javelin throw.
Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia is the other multiple Paralympic medalist but all his three medals (two gold and a silver) have come in different editions of the Games.
Lekhara is now looking forward to the mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 event also featuring Deepak and Siddhartha Babu.