Paralympics: Shooter Avani first Indian woman to win gold

Tokyo: Shooter Avani Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in the Paralympic Games. The 19-year-old bagged gold, India’s first at Tokyo 2020, in women’s 10m Air Rifle SH1 with a world record score of 249.6 in the final on August 30.

This is also India’s first gold medal in shooting in the Paralympic Games. Overall, she is the fourth Indian sportsperson to win a Paralympic gold after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016), and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).

Indeed, Avani is the first Indian female athlete to win a gold medal in either Olympics or the Paralympics. The silver medals won by Deepa Malik in 2016 Rio and para-table tennis player Bhavina Patel were the best efforts by Indian female sportspersons at the Paralympics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to congratulate the shooter, tweeting, “Phenomenal performance @AvaniLekhara! Congratulations on winning a hard-earned and well-deserved Gold, made possible due to your industrious nature and passion towards shooting. This is truly a special moment for Indian sports. Best wishes for your future endeavours.”

Nineteen-year-old Avani, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, qualified seventh for the final but shot superbly to leapfrog seven shooters in the first elimination series itself in the final and never looked back.

Antil wins gold with World Record

Tokyo: Sumit Antil set a new world record on his way to a gold medal in the Men’s Javelin throw – F64 final at the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Antil hurled the spear to 68.55 meters, improving on his old mark of 62.88 set in November 2019.

Australia’s Michael Burian won the silver medal with 66.29 meters while Sri Lanka’s Dulan Kodithuwakku took the bronze medal with 65.61 meters. Both Antil and Burian went past the old world record while the Sri Lankan came up with his personal best.

Antil’s gold in the second of the day for India, making it the most successful day in the Paralympic Games. Devendra Jhajharia and Yogesh Kathuniya won silver medals in the javelin (F46) and discus throw (T56) final. Sundar Singh Gurjar claimed a bronze medal in javelin throw F46, finishing behind Jhajharia.

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