Home Shooting Record breaker Avani Lekhara is just getting started

Record breaker Avani Lekhara is just getting started


India gained a file 19 medals on the Paralympics earlier this 12 months, simply their finest ever in historical past. To place that into perspective, India had gained a complete of 12 medals in 11 earlier editions. Of the 12, there have been 4 gold medals. They bettered that too in Tokyo with 5.

In a 12 months that featured a litany of nice para sports activities performances by Indians, there have been loads of sturdy contenders for the para athlete of 2021. Whereas any of them would have been deserving, Avani Lekhara finally wins it for creating historical past and being a pathbreaker for Indian para taking pictures.

Lekhara goes the place no Indian lady has gone earlier than

30 August, 2021 will all the time be a gold-embossed day in Indian sporting historical past. It marked the primary time India gained two golds on a single day on the Paralympics. India gained a complete of 5 medals on the day – one of the best ever.

Initially of the day, most Indians would have guess on one in all Devendra Jhajharia or Sundar Singh Gurjar successful India’s first gold on the Tokyo Paralympics.

What these predictions had not factored in was one identify: Avani Lekhara. Simply 19 on the time, most observers felt that Lekhara would possibly come into her personal on the subsequent Paralympics. The prevailing knowledge was that the Tokyo Video games can be a chance for her to achieve some invaluable expertise on the most important stage.

Lekhara, although, had been making ready for this chance for a few years. After a street accident in 2012, she suffered a lesion in her backbone which led to paraplegia and shedding management of her physique, waist down. Having tried her hand at archery, swimming and athletics, she ultimately selected taking pictures.

Her dedication was second to none as she would put in lengthy hours on the vary every single day, one thing that would go away her father anxious in regards to the bodily exertion she was placing her physique via.

It was that dedication which noticed her enroll at Suma Shirur’s academy in Mumbai. Primarily based in Jaipur, the choice meant Lekhara needed to journey a number of instances a 12 months to Mumbai. She is, actually, the one para athlete on the facility, which has over 150 trainees. She additionally determined to work with a sports activities psychologist as coping with ideas throughout competitors is an important facet of a static sport like taking pictures.

Jhajharia and Gurjar did medal on the day however earlier than them, Lekhara delivered India’s first gold in Tokyo early within the morning, turning into the primary Indian lady to win gold on the Olympics or Paralympics.

Tearing up the file books

Aside from being the primary Indian feminine Paralympic champion, there have been a spate of different information that got here in its wake Lekhara gained India’s first medal ever in taking pictures on the Paralympics and in addition grew to become simply the third Indian lady after Deepa Malik and Bhavinaben Patel to medal on the Video games. At 19, she was additionally the youngest Indian to win a Paralympic medal, a file that was subsequently damaged by Praveen Kumar in Tokyo.

Having been impressed to take the game critically after studying India’s first particular person Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra’s autobiography, A Shot At Historical past, she now joined him within the record of Indians to win a taking pictures gold on the Olympics or Paralympics.

After ending seventh within the qualification spherical, Lekhara put in her finest show ever within the girls’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 occasion within the remaining, setting a brand new Paralympic file and equaling the world file with a rating of 249.6. The competitors featured the likes of China’s Zhang Cuiping, the defending champion, who gained silver with a complete of 248.9, and Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, the reigning world champion after which world no. 1 and world file holder.

Talking after the ultimate, she mentioned, “I just think that I have to follow the process. Beyond that, I try not to think about the score or the medal tally.”

It would look like staple athlete speak however Lekhara follows that to the tee and it confirmed when she adopted up her gold with a bronze within the girls’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 occasion, turning into the primary Indian lady to win a number of medals on the Paralympics – one other file.

She additionally grew to become the second Indian after Joginder Singh Bedi (three in 1984) to win a number of medals in a single version of the Paralympics.

Nonetheless solely 20, Lekhara’s potential is boundless, one thing mirrored in her being the one athlete to win a number of classes this 12 months within the ESPN India awards. After a number of Paralympic medals in 2021, Avani Lekhara is simply getting began.

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