Avani Lekhara is an Indian Paralympian and rifle shooter. She won Gold Medal in 10m air rifle standing and a Bronze Medal in 50m air rifle standing SH1 (World Shooting Para Sport Ranking) and has competed in 2018 Asian Para Games. She has been supported by GoSports Foundation through the Para Champions Programme. She is also the first Indian Woman to win multiple medals in a single Paralympics Games.
No Indian shooter could make the finals of the mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1 event of the Paralympics with newly discovered athlete Avani Lekhara ending 28th in the qualification on Sunday, bringing the curtains down on a historic moment that yielded an unprecedented five medals in the sport.
Avani Lekhara was born on 8 November 2001. A car accident in 2012 at the age of 11 left her with complete paraplegia. Her father encouraged and motivated her to join sports, training in archery but moving to shooting in which she found her true passion.
Lekhara is the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics Gold Medal. Lekhara also won India’s first gold medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympic. With a score of 249.6 points in the final event, the young shooter set a Paralympic record and tied the world record. She began shooting in 2015, inspired by former Olympics champion Abinav Bindra and has since won several National and international titles. On 3 September 2021, she became the first Indian female Paralympian to win two medals in Paralympics history after claiming bronze in women’s 50m air rifle standing event.
Speaking in 2020 she said that the COVID-19 pandemic had not only affected her shooting training, but was having an impact on her essential physiotherapy routine. “As someone with a spinal cord disability, I don’t have any feeling below my waist. I still need to exercise my legs every day.
I used to have a physio who would come to my home daily to help me exercise and stretch my legs. Since then it’s my parents who have to help me with those exercises. They do the best they can. My physiotherapist has to travel from across Jaipur to come to where I live. It’s a long way for her to travel. For shooting training, as I can’t do live firing at home, I am doing a lot of dry firing and wall holding which we can do wiyhout pellets and ammunition and also built my core muscles.