Indian teen shooter Avani Lekhara held her nerve to win her second medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, a bronze in women’s 50m rifle 3-Positions SH1 in a thrilling finale on Friday.
She is the first Indian woman to win two Paralympic medals. She had earlier become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold winning the women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1.
The 19-year-old survived being tied for fourth-place thanks to a superb standing series to claim India’s 12th medal at at ongoing Games.
Lekhara, who qualified for the final in second place with a total of 1176 points across kneeling, prone and standing positions, was not in the medal positions after the first two series in the final. But she recovered in the final standing series, which decided the eliminations, to finish on the podium.
She finished with a total of 445.9 point, finding a decisive 10,5 in the Elimination rounds with Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, who shot 9.9. China’s Zhang Cuiping won gold and Natascha Hiltrop won silver.
Athletes in SH1 Rifle 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.
The Jaipur-based shooter, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, 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.