HTLS 2021: 'There has been a good change after winning the medal' - Avani Lekhara on Para sports getting recognition

  • HTLS 2021: Para-shooter Avani Lekhara finished top of the podium in 10 metre air rifle standing SH1 and had claimed the bronze in 50 metre Rifle 3 positions SH1.
Avani Lekhara during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.(HTLS)
Avani Lekhara during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.(HTLS)
Updated on Dec 04, 2021 12:48 PM IST
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Double Paralympic medallist Avani Lekhara, speaking on Day 5 of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2021, expressed happiness with the positive change that India's Paralympic contingent has brought about with their record medal haul in Tokyo earlier this summer.

India had claimed 19 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, more than four times their next-best haul and finished 24th in the competition, which included five golds, eight silver medals and six bronze medals. Avani had finished top of the podium in Women's R2 10 metre air rifle standing SH1 and had claimed the bronze in Women's R8 50 metre Rifle 3 positions SH1.

"There has been a good change after winning the medal. Para sports are being recognised now", Avani told Shivani Gupta, the senior associate of CNN-News18.

HT Leadership Summit 2021 Day 5 LIVE Updates

Avani looked back at her two events, where she won a gold and bronze medal, saying that she did not want to relax after having claimed gold in Women's R2 10 metre air rifle standing SH1 and rather wanted to focus on her second event. 

"I wanted to give my 100 percent. The last shot was 9.9. Eventually, when I saw the faces of my team members and family, it made me happy. I play four events, so I didn't want to sit back and relax just because I won the gold in one event. 3P was my favourite event, I almost broke a world record in the qualification round and ended up winning the bronze. That's how you can make a better version of yourself everyday," added Avani.

The 20-year-old then talked about her preparation and how she gained confidence for her maiden Paralympic campaign. 

"I had to arrange my own gym and shooting range at home. My trainer helped me train in lockdown. My gold was to win a gold medal, and multiple medals at the Paralympics. I was pretty nervous reaching Tokyo. I set a target that I would play two as my main events. My coach helped me gain a lot of confidence," she added.

Lekhara is the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. Winning India's first gold medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics, with a score of 249.6 points in the final event, Avani set a Paralympic record and tied the world record.

"I wanted to break all records. People said we are happy with a gold medal but it wasn’t enough for me. I won a gold, broke a world record, junior world record, para record. In my first event, I came 7th in qualification. Even though I won a medal the score wasn't easy. So In gave my best in the next match," said Avani of her achievement.

 

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Friday, January 28, 2022