avani lekhara: Shooter Avani Lekhara becomes first Indian woman to win gold at Paralympics; Avani Lekhara gold at Paralympics: Avani Lekhara gold at Paralympics

When Avni Lekhara’s father Praveen took her to the shooting range for the first time in 2015, his motive was to ease his displeasure over the life of his daughter who had been crippled by a car accident. Little did he know that his effort would change his daughter’s life forever. The initiative taken to reduce resentment culminated in Avani’s historic gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics today.

Praveen Lekhara said, ‘Before that accident she was very active and used to participate in every activity but that accident changed her life.’ He said, ‘She was very upset with the situation and did not want to talk to anyone. To change the atmosphere, I used to take him to the JDA Shooting Range in Jagatpura from where he developed his passion for shooting.

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He then bought his daughter, Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra’s autobiography ‘A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold’. Avni started reading books and got inspired by Bindra, India’s first individual gold medalist at the Olympics. She had problems in the beginning but her father said, ‘Her coach supported her and she started performing well. She won gold at the state level and bronze at the national level in 2015. Today she has won the gold in Paralympics which was expected from her.

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Ever since Avni won the medal, her father’s phone has been ringing continuously. On the other hand, there is an atmosphere of celebration in Devlen, a small village in Karauli district where Sundar Singh Gurjar, a resident of the district, won a bronze medal in javelin throw. His brother Hariom Gurjar said, ‘The whole village is happy. He was hoping for a gold but missed it. He told that people from all over the village had either gathered at his house to watch TV or were praying for his success by performing special poojas in the temple. Sweets were distributed after winning the bronze. Hariom said, ‚ÄúSundar has two children and one was born on Janmashtami last year. At the same time, on this Janmashtami, Sundar won a medal for the country.

Sundar’s mother is the sarpanch in the gram panchayat. Devendra Jhajharia, who won silver in javelin throw, is also from Rajasthan. Congratulating the players, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced a cash prize of Rs 3 crore for the gold medalist, Rs 2 crore for the silver winner and Rs 1 crore for the bronze winner.

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