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THE WEEK|September 19, 2021
Teen gunner Avani Lekhara overcame tragedy to make history at the Paralympics
NEERU BHATIA

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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