Tokyo: Shooter Avani Lekhara scripted history on Monday as she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics, firing her way to the top of the podium in the R-2 women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event here.
The 19-year-old finished with a world record-equalling total of 249.6, which is also a new Paralympic record.
Lekhara is also the fourth Indian athlete to win a Paralympics gold after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016) and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).
In the SH1 Rifle category, shooters are able to hold a gun with arms.
The athletes have an impairment in their legs, for example, amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes will compete in a seated position, while others will compete in a standing position.
Earlier in the day, discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya clinched a silver medal in the men’s F56 event in the Paralympics for India.
24-year-old Kathuniya, a B.Com graduate from New Delhi’s Kirorimal College, sent the disc to the best distance of 44.38m in his sixth and last attempt to clinch the silver. On Sunday, India had picked up a silver (high jump) and a bronze (discus throw), which is on hold due to a protest.
Son of an Army man, Kathuniya suffered a paralytic attack at the age of eight which left him with coordination impairments in his limbs.