Avani Lakhera of Jaipur created history by breaking the Paralympics record. She equalled the world record for women’s 10m air Rifle shooting 249.6 and became 1st Indian who won gold in the Paralympic. Avani matched the world record set by Iryna Shchetnik of Ukraine in December 2018.
After Avni’s victory, the family celebrated by singing and dancing at their house located in Shastri Nagar in Jaipur.
Avni’s father is a Revenue Appellate Officer and is currently posted in Ganganagar. He said, “The journey from Jaipur to Tokyo has been a struggle for Avani. She has earned this achievement by beating all odds with courage and persistent hard work. We cannot believe that she has won gold. Medal was expected, but we never thought that gold would come.”
Avani’s Story of struggle
Avani, aged 19, is a law student. She lost both her legs in an accident 9 years ago. After the accident, she was confined to a wheelchair and completely lost her courage. She went into depression. Later she tried to get into sports. She first tried archery but couldn’t pull the rope. Then she tried her hands on shooting but at first, she could not even lift the gun. Soon she started developing an interest in it and today it is the result of her continuous hard work that she made India proud. Because of her, the national anthem resonated on the podium of the Tokyo Paralympics.
Avni had been working hard for a long time and did not stop until she was exhausted. When the shooting range was closed in the lockdown, Avni’s father got a digital target installed at home on her insistence.
Avani was inspired by her father to go to sports. She also got inspired by reading a book by Beijing Olympics 2008 gold medalist Abhinav Bindra. She started shooting in 2015 at the Jagatpura Sports Complex in Jaipur. Avani made her national debut at the 2017 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The first woman to win gold for India
So far, women have won three medals for India in Paralympic history. Deepa Malik won silver in shot put in 2016 and Bhavina Patel won a silver medal in table tennis this year. While in the Olympics, women have given India 8 medals so far. In these, PV Sindhu has given 2 and Karnam Malleswari, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, Sakshi Malik, Mirabai Chanu, Lovlina Borgohain have given India one medal each. However, no woman has been able to get Indian gold to date.