Avani Lekhara bagged a gold medal, India’s first medal in shooting, at the Tokyo Paralympics in the women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 event on Monday.

Avani is the fourth Indian athlete to bring home gold at the Paralympics after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016), and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).

Here are some lesser known facts about this 19-year-old Paralympian:

1. Ambition and role model: Avani had set her targets at winning a medal for India at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Little did she know that she’d win a gold. Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra, also an Olympic gold medalist, is Avani’s role model.

2. Hobbies: Avani loves listening to music, watching films and television, cooking, baking, and spending time with her family. 

3. Previous Honours: In 2019, Avani was named Most Promising Paralympic Athlete by the GoSports Foundation in India. 

4. Impairment: Avani sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012.

5. Residence: Avani is from Jaipur, Rajasthan.

6. Languages spoken: Avani speaks English and Hindi fluently.

7. Education: Avani completed her Higher Education in Law from the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur.

8. When and where did she began shooting:  She began shooting in 2015 at Jagatpura Sports Complex in Jaipur, India.

9. Why shooting?
Avani’s father encouraged her to get involved in a sport, and she initially tried both shooting and archery. She found she enjoyed shooting more and was also inspired by Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra after reading his book.

10. International debut: Avani Lekhara made her international debut in 2017 when she competed for India at the World Cup in UAE’s Al Ain.

Also Read India at Paralympics: Meet the past medallists

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