NEW DELHI, August 30 : The Indian sports fraternity went all out to congratulate 10m air rifle shooter Avani Lekhara who became the first woman from the country to win a Paralympic gold with a world record score of 249.6 in the finals, at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Monday.
India’s first individual Olympic Games gold medallist, 10m air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra congratulated the 19-year-old Avani, who is paralysed from waist-down, tweeting, “Gold it is! Brilliant display by @AvaniLekhara to win India its first Paralympic gold medal in shooting. Immensely proud! Many Congratulations on your shot at history ! #Praise4Para #Tokyo2020.”
Avani’s gold is a welcome relief for the shooting fraternity in India after a 15-member contingent to the Tokyo Olympics, which concluded three weeks back, came back empty-handed with plenty of controversies that created an atmosphere of negativity all around the Indian contingent before the wresters and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra lifted the gloom.
The Indian shooting contingent at the Paralympic Games here has been trained by dedicated Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) coaches, including chief coach JP Nautiyal and Subhash Rana, the younger brother of Jaspal Rana, the Asian Games gold-medallist pistol shooter.
Former India cricketer VVS Laxman tweeted, “What a historic feat by #AvaniLekhara on becoming the first ever Indian women to win a #Paralympics Gold. A landmark ocassion in Indian sports. And with #YogeshKathuniya delivering an outstanding performance to bring home a Silver (discus throw), India now has 5 medals in the #TokyoParalympics.”
Cricketer-turned-commentator Virender Sehwag tweeted, “She has created history. The first ever woman from India to win a #Paralympics #Gold. Wow #AvaniLekhara on the outstanding feat. Also equals the current WR to win the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 final! (Flexed biceps symbol)”