Avani Lekhara headlines historic day for India

Nineteen-year-old becomes the first Indian woman to top the podium in the Games, China and Sweden also claim golds at Asaka Shooting Range 30 Aug 2021
A young woman in the uniform of India posing with a gold medal
Avani Lekhara showing her gold medal in Tokyo after winning the R2 - women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1
Ⓒ Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
By OIS and World Shooting Para Sport

In 45 years of Paralympic shooting, India had not won a medal of any colour.

That all changed on Monday at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, as 19-year-old Avani Lekhara equalled the world record in the R2 - women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 to take gold.

"I can't describe this feeling, I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world. It's unexplainable,” Lekhara, the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold in any sport, said afterwards.

Lekhara was the only shooter in the final to produce a perfect 10.9 score, but faltered towards the end with two 9.9s in the last two elimination rounds. However, she had built up enough of a buffer to hold on to first place.

"I was just saying one thing - that I have to take one shot at a time. There's nothing else matters now, just take one shot at a time and just finish it,” Lekhara said of her anxious closing moments.

Cuiping Zhang took the silver medal and emotional Iryna Shchetnik from Ukraine made her first Paralympic podium with bronze.

Hat-trick for Chao

Dong Chao made it three titles in a row in the R1 - men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1, building through the elimination rounds to take a decisive lead.

“After many years of hard work, to get a hat-trick of gold medals is beyond my expectations,” Dong said. “To win three in a row in shooting is not easily done, so this is very unexpected."

Ukraine’s Andrii Doroshenko had to settle for silver followed by Jinho Park with bronze.

Slovenia's Francek Tirsek also collected a third successive medal, taking silver in the R4 - mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2. But it was Philip Jonsson’s day. The Swede took his first podium in her second Games.

“I feel happy, and relieved that all the training has seen some results, and proved that people with disabilities can do some good results and be in the world elite," Jonsson said.
Tirsek also claimed silver at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. The Slovenian was emotional after the competition.

"This is history, now is history. This is my life, this is my work, this is my job, this is medal. This is history,” he said.

Andrea Liverani gave Italy its first shooting Para sport medal in Tokyo with the bronze.

The action continues on Tuesday with two medal events at the Asaka Shooting Range.

For full shooting schedule and results click on Paralympic.org/results.