On Monday, Avani Lekhara earned India’s first Paralympic shooting medal in the women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 category. Lekhara won the gold medal in the final with a total score of 249.6, equaling the world record. This is India’s fourth medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The 19-year-old also made history by being the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. Overall, she is India’s fourth Paralympic gold medalist, following swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016), and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).
She qualified for the final round by placing seventh in the qualification round with a total score of 621.7. Avani recovered well from a poor start to reach the finals of the showcase event.
She scored 104.9, 104.8, and 104.1 on her third and fourth attempts to qualify for the game, respectively, before scoring 104.1 in the final round of qualification. The Indian shooter will now compete in the showcase event’s finals.
Shooters in the SH1 Rifle category can handle a rifle with their arms. The athletes have limb impairments, such as amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes will compete while seated, while others may participate while standing.