Chateauroux 2022: Rising star Avani Lekhara leads India’s impressive start

Paralympic champion takes gold with a new world record in the R2 - women’s 10m air rifle standing SH2 at the World Cup in France 09 Jun 2022
A female shooter with a rifle in a shooting Para sport competition
Indian star Avani Lekhara continues her impressive run at Chateauroux 2022 following her Paralympic title last year in Tokyo
By Vagner Vargas | For World Shooting Para Sport

At 20 years old, Indian Avani Lekhara already has a lot to be proud of. Last year she became the first woman in her country to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. This week Lekhara added to her legacy at the first World Shooting Para Sport World Cup of the season, in Chateauroux, France.

Competing for the first time since Tokyo 2020, Lekhara not only won the gold medal for India in the R2 - women’s 10m air rifle standing SH2 but she also crushed the world record with a score of 250.6 and secured a quota for her country in the next edition of the Paralympic Games, in Paris 2024.

“I was very excited and looking forward to this event. I topped the qualification stage, so I knew I was halfway there, I just had to focus on finishing at the top. I was not thinking about the world record or the gold medal, I was just thinking about my process and it happened. I’m delighted,” Lekhara said.

Alongside Lekhara, six more athletes earned quotas to Paris 2024 in the first two days of shooting in Chateauroux.

Competing in his home country, Jean-Louis Michaud won the R1 - men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 and also achieved a quota for France in the Paralympic Games.

“Emotionally it was tough. In the end, my tears came up on their own,” the French shooter said after the competition.

The other quotas for Paris 2024 went to Poland, Hungary, and another one to India. 

Polish shooters Szymon Sowinski and Emilia Babska got their quotas in the P3 mixed 25m pistol SH1 and in the R2 - women’s 10m air rifle standing SH2, respectively; while Hungary’s Csaba Rescsik earned it in the R1 - men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1. 

Indian shooter Sriharsha Ramakrishna ensured his country a spot in the R4 -mixed 10m air rifle standing SH2).

The Chateauroux 2022 World still has other 12 quotas for Paris 2024 to distribute until Sunday (12 June).

Slovakia and UAE comebacks

After winning three gold medals on the first day in Chateauroux, India claimed another one on day two in France on Wednesday (8). 

In the P6 - 10m air pistol mixed team, Rubina Francis and Manish Narwal topped the qualification stage with a world record of 565 points and went on to beat China in the final. Turkey ended up with the bronze medal.

In the other two events of the day, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates pulled fantastic comebacks to win gold in the R10 - 10m air rifle mixed team SH1 and in the R11 - 10m air rifle mixed team SH2, respectively. 

Both teams were down 15-9 before impressive reactions take them to the top of the podium.

Chateauroux 2022 is the biggest-ever World Cup with 270 athletes from 50 countries competing during six days. 

You can follow all the action on World Shooting Para Sport social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.