Avani Lekhara etched her name in the history books after becoming the first female para athlete from the country to clinch a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. The 19-year-old shooter on Monday finished first in the women’s 10m air rifle standing (SH1 class).
It was a remarkabale performance by Avani, which saw her beat the reigning champion Zhang Cuiping of China and Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, who finished second and third, respectively.
Commending Avani’s achievment, the Rajasthan government appointed the 19-year-old as the ambassador for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign in the state.
“By winning the gold medal, you have made the country and the state proud.Your determination and hardwork has got the country this historic win and I hope that you will continue to inspire all the girls in Rajasthan with your dedication. I feel proud to appoint you as the brand ambassador for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.” wrote Bhupesh in the letter.
Avani was first introduced to the sport in 2015 by his father, when he took her to the Jagatpura Shooting Range. It was under coach Chandra Shekhar, the gold-medalist finally started making progress a year later.
Avani takes inspiration form legendary Abhinav Bindra, who is the first Indian to win a gold at Olympics, achieving the feat in Beijing 2008.
Avani has three more events -10m air rifle prone mixed (R3), 50m rifle prone mixed (R6) and 50m rifle 3-position women (R8) – lined up in the coming days at the megaevent.