Avani Lekhara (born 8 November 2001 in Jaipur) is an Indian Paralympian and rifle shooter from Rajasthan.[1] She won a gold medal in the 10m air rifle standing and a bronze medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. As of January 2023, Lekhara is ranked world no. 1 in Women's 10m Air Rifle standing SH1 (World Shooting Para Sport Rankings)[2] and has competed in the 2018 Asian Para Games.[3][4][5][6] She has been supported by GoSports Foundation through the Para Champions Programme.[7] She is also the first Indian woman to win multiple medals in a single Paralympic Games.[8] She has been given out of turn appointment as Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) by the Government of Rajasthan.[9]

Avani Lekhara
Lekhara in 2022
Personal information
Full nameAvani Lekhara
Born (2001-11-08) 8 November 2001 (age 22)
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Height5 ft 3 in (160 cm)
Country India
EventAir Rifle SH1
Achievements and titles
Paralympic finals2020 Summer Paralympics: 10m air rifle standing SH1 – Gold
Medal record
Representing  India
Women's shooting
Paralympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2020 Tokyo 10m air rifle SH1
Bronze medal – third place 2020 Tokyo 50m rifle 3 positions SH1
World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2022 France 10m air rifle SH1
Gold medal – first place 2022 France 50m rifle 3 positions SH1
Silver medal – second place 2022 South Korea 10m air rifle SH1
Asian Para Games
Gold medal – first place 2022 Hangzhou 10 m air rifle

Career edit

Lekhara is the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal.[10][11][12] Lekhara also won India's first gold medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. With a score of 249.6 points in the final event, the young shooter set a Paralympic record and tied the world record.[13] She began shooting in 2015, inspired by former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and has since won several national and international titles.[14] On 3 September 2021, she became the first Indian female Paralympian to win two medals in Paralympics history after claiming bronze in women's 50m air rifle standing event.[15][16]

Personal life edit

A car accident in 2012, at the age of 11, left her with complete paraplegia. Her father encouraged her to join sports, training in archery but moving to shooting in which she found her true passion. She currently studies law in Rajasthan University, India.[17][18] She was student of Kendriya Vidyalaya 3 (Jaipur), where she received her first gold medal in regional match of shooting.[19]

In popular culture edit

Avani has appeared in the Kalki presents 'My Indian Life' for young Indian adults in the twenty-first century examined by Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin. True stories from India, sometimes brutal, sometimes inspiring. The BBC World Service broadcasts the programme.[20]

Awards edit

  • 2021 – Khel Ratna Award, highest sporting honour of India.[21]
  • 2021 - Young Indian of the Year - GQ India
  • 2021 - Vogue Women of the Year - Vogue Magazine
  • 2021 - Best Female Debut - Paralympic Awards - International Paralympic Committee
  • 2022 - Padma Shri[22]
  • 2022 - FICCI FLO Award for Excellence in Sports
  • 2022 - She - Age Award by Hindustan Times
  • 2022 - Para Athlete of the Year (Female) - Sportstar
  • 2022 - BBC India Change Maker Of The Year 2021
  • 2022 - BRICS CCI WE - Trailblazer 2022

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ PTI. "Indians win four gold to begin Para Asian Games campaign in style". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  2. ^ "World Shooting Para Sport Rankings / Official World Rankings 2023". World Shooting Para Sport.
  3. ^ "Para shooter Avani Lekhara clinches silver; India stay in top three". Indian Express News.
  4. ^ "Avani Lekhara". The Bridge News.
  5. ^ "Para World Cup: Teenage shooter Avani Lekhara wins 10m air rifle silver". Time of India News.
  6. ^ "Avani Lekhara wins women's 10m air rifle silver medal at World Shooting Para Sport World Cup". Firstpost News.
  7. ^ "Improvise, adapt, overcome: Indian para athletes' mantra for beating lockdown". ESPN. 19 April 2020. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  8. ^ "Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win multiple medals at Paralympics". ESPN. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  9. ^ "News Detail". dipr.rajasthan.gov.in. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Truly special moment: India celebrates Avani Lekhara, the golden girl at Tokyo Paralympics". India Today. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Shooter Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win gold at Paralympics". The Hindu. Press Trust of India. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  12. ^ Haq, Sana Noor. "Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win Paralympic gold". CNN. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Shooting athlete Avani Lekhara enters history books with gold". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  14. ^ "India's first woman Paralympic gold medallist Avani Lekhara inspired by Abhinav Bindra's autobiography". The Indian Express. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  15. ^ Peter, Naveen (3 September 2021). "Shooter Avani Lekhara scripts history, becomes first Indian woman to win two Paralympics medals". Olympics.com. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  16. ^ "Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win 2 Paralympic medals". The Times of India. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Avani Lekhara: Golden girl from Pink City". The Indian Express. 9 October 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2023.
  18. ^ "Tokyo Paralympic 2020: Avani Lekhara wins historic gold for India in shooting". BBC News. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  19. ^ Kartik, RJ (7 October 2021). "Avani Lekhara Interview". YouTube. Archived from the original on 17 April 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  20. ^ "BBC World Service - Kalki Presents: My Indian Life, Bullseye". BBC. 26 November 2022. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  21. ^ "National Sports Awards 2021: Neeraj Chopra, Lovlina Borgohain, Mithali Raj Among 9 Others to Get Khel Ratna". News18. 2 November 2021. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  22. ^ Sharma, Nitin (26 January 2022). "Para champions, Neeraj Chopra, hockey star Vandana Katariya among Padma awardees". Indian Express. Retrieved 26 January 2022.