Avani Lekhara clinches bronze, becomes 1st Indian woman to win two Paralympics medals
Tokyo: Para shooter Avani Lekhara clinched her second medal of the Tokyo Paralympics with a bronze in the women’s 50m rifle 3P SH1 event on Friday. The 19-year-old Avani had earlier won the gold medal in women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 with a world record-equalling score of 249.6. This was India’s second medal of the day after Praveen Kumar bagged silver medal in men’s T64 high jump.
Avani finished with a total score of 445.9 to finish at third place and take the bronze medal. This is India’s 12th medal at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics. She also became the first woman and second Indian after Joginder Singh Bedi to win more than one medal in the same edition of the Paralympics.
Bedi won a silver in shot put L6 followed by bronze medals in Javelin Throw F46 and Discus Throw L6 at the 1984 Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville.
Zhang Cuiping of China won the gold with a Paralympics record score of 457.9 while Natascha Hiltrop of Germany won the silver with a score of 457.1.
With four shooters left in the final, Avani was at fourth place while Iryna Shchtenik of Ukraine was placed third. When it mattered the most in the bronze shoot-off, Avani shot a 10.5 compared to Iryna’s 9.9, thus putting her in third place. After shooting 10.2 compared to Zhang’s 10.3, Avani won the bronze medal with a smile on her face.
Earlier, Avani stood second in the qualifying stage, finishing with a score of 1176 to make it to the final. She shot 388 in kneeling, 393 in prone and 395 in standing in the qualifying stage. Sweden’s Anna Normann, who had set a world record for qualifying stage with a score of 1177, finished fifth in the final.
Avani will be next seen in action on Sunday in the mixed 50m rifle-prone SH1 event.