The 19-year-old Lekhara, competing in her debut Games, qualified second for the event with a score of 1176, including 51 inner 10s.
In the fiercely contested finals, Lekhara totalled 445.9 to finish ahead of Ukraine’s Iryna Shchetnik, who let slip her grip on the medal spot with a poor third shot of 9.9 in the elimination.
Our Golden Girl, Avani brings home 2nd🏅from Tokyo #Paralympics!!!@AvaniLekhara wins a🥉in Women’s 50m Rifle 3P SH1… https://t.co/UpgpH6cAlc
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) 1630647075000
Lekhara had become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold by claiming the top honours in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event.
The Jaipur-based shooter, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012 rendering her immobile, had fired a world record equalling total of 249.6, which was also a new Paralympic record.
Prior to her, Joginder Singh Sodhi was the lone Indian to win multiple medals in the same edition of the Games when he fetched one silver and two bronze medals in the 1984 Paralympics.
A sigh of relief after mounting a magnificent comeback. 😌 Ladies and gentleman, @AvaniLekhara – #IND’s first woma… https://t.co/cIAXWqwOfl
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) 1630648023000
His silver came in shot put, while the two bronze medals were won in discus and javelin throw.
Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia is the other multiple Paralympic medallist but all his three medals (two gold and a silver) have come in different editions of the Games.
The gold in Friday’s event was claimed by China’s Zhang Cuiping with a new Games record of 457.9, while German Natascha Hiltrop took the silver with a 457.1 in the final.
.@AvaniLekhara, you beauty! 😍😍😍#IND’s ace shooter claims a second medal in R8 – Women’s 50m Rifle 3P SH1, winning… https://t.co/ZmNiaZecoI
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) 1630646577000
Athletes in SH1 Rifle have an impairment in their legs, for example amputations or paraplegia. Some athletes compete in a seated position, while others compete in a standing position.
Lekhara started shooting on the insistence of her father in 2015 at a city shooting range.
“She was angry at her condition and hardly had a desire to talk to anyone. For a change, I used to take her to JDA shooting range in Jagatpura, Jaipur where she developed interest in shooting,” her father Praveen Lekhara had told PTI after the gold medal she won in 10m air rifle competition.
The medals for women’s R8 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 #ShootingParaSport are in! #Gold Cuiping Zhang #CHN #Silver… https://t.co/7E7dsOtxq3
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) 1630646798000
The youngster was also inspired by Olympic gold-medallist rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra after reading his autobiography, which was a gift from her father.
A student of law, Lekhara made her debut for India in 2017 World Cup in Al Ain, UAE.
In the men’s event 50m Rifle 3P, Deepak failed to qualify for the finals after finishing 18th with a score of 1114.
One more medal for #IND !!! AMAZING!!!Avani L. #IND earns #Bronze in R8 – Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1 with… https://t.co/nbPAp7GKW2
— #ShootingParaSport #Tokyo2020 (@ShootingPara) 1630646601000