Avani Lekhara determined for more success at Tokyo Paralympics

Lekhara became the first Indian woman to clinch two medals at Paralympics in Tokyo.

By Samrat Chakraborty
Picture by Paralympic Committee of India

Avani Lekhara scripted history at Tokyo by becoming the first Indian woman to clinch two medals in Paralympics. And significantly, she did it in the same edition, becoming only the second Indian to achieve the feat.

But the para-shooter is not done yet. She wants to add a third to her tally in the mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 event.

Lekhara, 19, clinched a gold in the women's 10m air rifle standing SH1 event at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and added a bronze to her name in the women's 50m rifle three positions SH1 event on Friday.

"I was not satisfied with the gold medal. When I won the gold, I wanted to do my last shot better. This bronze is not satisfying. I'm focusing on the next match and want to give my best for the next event as well," Lekhara said in a media interaction.

The rifle 3 positions event consists of kneeling, prone and standing positions; offering a different challenge in each stage. However, for Avani, the standing position is her strong suit.

Avani Lekhara won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Picture by GETTY IMAGES

"My standing is stronger than the other two positions. I wanted to give my best in standing and I thought everyone felt the same. I tried to concentrate on myself and remained fully focused. I was nervous but I just had my focus on the shots," the teenager said.

The equipments play a major role in the 50m rifle three positions event for Lekhara, who is completely dependent on a wheelchair, as a table can act like her knee to support her during the event.

"Three positions require a lot of equipment and because I'm in a wheelchair it takes time for me to adjust them. Its (the equipment) like a part of the body, table is like my knee in the match," the Jaipur-based shooter said.

"So equipment matters a lot in three positions because it is 50m distance and if there is even a slight movement from your end, it can create a huge difference (in total score). It requires both physical and mental strength," she added.

And at her maiden appearance at the Para Games, Lekhara also fulfilled her dream of emulating her idol Abhinav Bindra with a gold medal but still has miles to go after a remarkable rise in her career.