AVANI LEKHARA’S JOURNEY from her home in Jaipur to the Tokyo Paralympic Games has catapulted her to national fame, courtesy of her double medal. The calm, soft-spoken 19-year-old made history by becoming the first Indian woman to win gold at the Paralympics. It was a world record-equalling feat in R2 women’s 10m air rifle SH-1 event (for athletes with lower limb impairment). A few days later, she added a bronze to her collection in the women’s 50m three-position SH-1 event. This was her first international medal in the three-position event.
Lekhara’s achievement made her only the second Indian ever to win multiple medals at the same Paralympics; Joginder Singh Sodhi won three medals at the 1984 Games. She also joined Sodhi, Devendra Jhajharia, and Mariyappan Thangavelu on the list of Indians with two or more Paralympic medals.
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