Trailblazing shooter Avani Lekhara has become the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals by claiming the 50m Rifle 3 Position SH1 bronze. She has added this to an unprecedented gold, which she won earlier at the ongoing games in Tokyo.
The 19-year-old Lekhara qualified second for the event with a score of 1176, including 51 inner 10s. In the fiercely contested finals, Lekhara totalled 445.9 to finish ahead of Ukraine's Iryna Shchetnik, who let her grip slip on the medal spot with a poor third shot of 9.9 in the elimination.
Lekhara had become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold by claiming the top honours in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event. The Jaipur-based shooter, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, had fired a world record equalling total of 249.6, which was also a new Paralympic record.
Prior to this, Joginder Singh Sodhi was the lone Indian to win multiple medals, when he fetched one silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Paralympics. His silver came in shot put, while the two bronze medals were won in discus and javelin throw.
The gold in Friday's event was claimed by China's Zhang Cuiping with a new record of 457.9, while German Natascha Hiltrop took the silver with a 457.1 in the final. Athletes in SH1 Rifle have an impairment in their legs such as amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes compete in a seated position, while others compete in a standing position.
Lekhara started shooting on the insistence of her father in 2015 at a city shooting range. She was also inspired by Olympic gold-medallist rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra after reading his autobiography. In the men's event 50m Rifle 3P, Deepak failed to qualify for the finals after finishing 18th with a score of 1114.