Trailblazing shooter Avani Lekhara on Friday became the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals by claiming the Women’s 50m Rifle Three Positions (SH1) bronze to add to an unprecedented gold she had won earlier in the ongoing Games.
The 19-year-old Avani shot the second best qualification score of 1176 to make it to the final.
In the fiercely contested final, Avani totaled 445.9 to finish ahead of Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, who let slip her grip on the medal spot with a poor third shot of 9.9 in the elimination.
Avani had become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold by claiming the top honours in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing (SH1).
The Jaipur-based shooter, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, equalled the world record of 249.6, which was also a new Paralympic record.
Prior to her, Joginder Singh Sodhi was the lone Indian to win multiple medals in the same edition of the Games when he fetched one silver and two bronze medals in 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 Games record of 457.9, while German Natascha Hiltrop took the silver with a 457.1 in the final.
Athletes in 50m Rifle Three Position have an impairment in their legs, for example amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes will compete in a seated position, while others will compete in a standing position.