Avani Lekhara clinched a historic second medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, winning a bronze in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1 event on Friday. She has now become the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals.
Avani had finished second in the qualification for the event, and made a slow start in the final with scores of 9.8 and 9.7 in the first two shots. However, she gathered momentum with a strong finish in the remaining three shots of the first series (10.1, 10.9 and 10.3).
Her position fluctuated between fifth and sixth for a large part of the first and second series before a poor set of shots from Sweden’s Anna Norman and Ukraine’s Iryna Schchetnik gave her rank a boost.
Avani faced occasional hiccups in the elimination round with two successive scores of 9.9 in the final series, but she recovered with a strong 10.5 in the final shot to stay alive for medal contention.
In the bronze medal shoot-off, Avani showed tremendous composure to shoot a 10.5 again. Schchetnik, meanwhile, fumbled and scored a 9.9, missing a chance for a podium finish. Avani finished with a score of 445.9.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate Avani Lekhara on her second medal at the Games. “More glory at the Tokyo #Paralympics. Elated by the stupendous performance of @AvaniLekhara. Congratulations to her on bringing home the Bronze medal. Wishing her the very best for her future endeavours. #Praise4Para,” wrote PM Modi.
With Avani’s bronze, India have now won 12 medals at the Tokyo Paralympics. This was also India’s fourth bronze medal at the Games. India are currently 36th in the medal tally.
Avani has already created history by becoming the first Indian shooter to win a gold at the Paralympics.
She equalled the world record with a total score of 249.6 to win the gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event.