Shooter Avani Lekhara scripts history, becomes first Indian woman to win two Paralympics medals

Avani Lekhara won bronze medal in women’s 50m rifle 3-position SH1 to add to her earlier gold in women’s 10m air rifle shooting SH1 class at Tokyo.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/ Getty Images

Para shooter Avani Lekhara scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals on Friday.

The 19-year-old rifle shooter, who won gold in women’s 10m air rifle shooting SH1 class at Tokyo on Monday, added the women’s 50m rifle 3-position SH1 bronze medal to her tally. She also became the first Indian woman to win two medals at the Para Games in the same edition.

After qualifying for the final in the second position with 1176 points, Avani Lekhara continued her momentum in the medal round as well. 

Beginning with the kneeling position, Avani Lekhara looked comfortable in opening two series but floundered a bit in the third as an 8.9 and a few 9s pulled her down. 

Though Avani Lekhara tried to make up ground during her kneeling and standing series, she failed to finish in the top two.

Two-time champion Zhang Cuiping of China took the gold with a new Paralympic record of 457.9 while Germany’s Natascha Hiltrop won the silver with a score of 457.1. Avani Lekhara finished the final with a total of 445.9 to claim bronze.

Meanwhile, there was no such joy for Deepak in the men's 50m rifle 3P SH1 class as he finished 18th in the qualification. The Indian shooter scored a total of 1114.

At the Tokyo Aquatic Centre, Indian para swimmers Suyash Narayan and Niranjan Mukundan failed to qualify for the final of the men’s 50m Butterfly S7 event at Tokyo 2020. 

Suyash Narayan clocked 32.36 seconds to finish 10th on the overall standings while Niranjan Mukundan was 11th with a timing of 33.82 seconds.

Later, India’s canoe sprinter, Parchi Yadav, finished eighth in the final of the women’s Va’A single 200m - VL2. Qualifying for the final with a respectable run in the semis, the Indian athlete clocked 1:07.329 seconds in the medal round.