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Paralympics 2020: Avani Lekhara wins historic gold for India in shooting

Historic day for India at Paralympics 2020 as shooter Avani Lekhara finishes on top to clinch gold. The 19-year-old won with an impressive score of 149.6 in the final event of women's 10m air rifle standing at Tokyo on Monday.

With this, Lekhara has set a new Paralympic record and has also equaled the world record. Many in India have taken to Twitter to praise her historic achievement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called her victory a "truly special moment for Indian sports". Currently ranked fifth in the women's 10m air rifle standing, Tokyo is Lekhara's maiden appearance at the Paralympic Games.

Lekhara took gold after scoring 249.6 in women's 10m air rifle standing (SH1), whilst also equalling the world record (EWR) and breaking the Paralympic record. "I can't describe this feeling, I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world. It's unexplainable," Lekhara said.

"I'm so happy I could be the one to contribute it. Hopefully, there's a lot of medals more to come," the 19-year-old said about winning India's first Paralympic shooting medal ever.

Throughout the finals, the Para shooter showed nerves of steel whilst targeting only one thing: to get the job done. Youth overpowered experience when she defeated reigning Paralympic champion ZHANG Cuiping of People's Republic of China, who scored 248.9 to take silver.

"I was just saying one thing, that I have to take one shot at a time. There's nothing else that matters now, just take one shot at a time and just finish it," Leksha said, "I just think that I have to follow the process. Beyond that, I try not to think about the score or the medal tally."

Making her Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020, Leksha's gold medal - the country's first gold medal at Tokyo 2020 - now brings India's medal tally to five. The 10m Air Rifle shooter hails from Jaipur, Rajasthan and she trains in the JDA Shooting Range in the Pink City. She suffered Traumatic Paraplegia caused by an accident in 2012.

Lekhara still has two more opportunities to add more gold medals to her trophy cabinet. She will compete for two qualification rounds in the mixed 10m air rifle qualification, women's 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 and mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 in the next few days.


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