Paralympics champion Avani Lekhara on Tuesday produced a world record score to clinch the top honours at Para Shooting World Cup in Chateauroux, France, out-performing the field by a decent score difference to immortalise herself as the first Indian athlete to seal a berth for the 2024 Paralympics. While stressing that she focussed only on the tournament and not the world record, Avani Lekhara stated she was ‘just doing her process’ that led her to a World Cup title, in what is her first reaction after a historic performance.
Avani Lekhara clinched gold with an emphatic world record score of 250.6 in women's 10m air rifle standing SH1, thus bettering her previous world record score of 249.6. “I was very excited to compete after the Paralympic Games. It was my first international event and I was looking forward to it. I topped the qualification and I knew that I was halfway through. I had to focus more and concentrate on the finals to finish in the top two,” the athlete said in her first response after winning Para World Cup title, in a video exclusively shared by her father, Praveen Lekhara to Republic Media Network.
“I was not thinking about the world record or getting the gold. I was just doing my process and the rest happened. I am happy to be the first person to win a quota for the country,” she said while adding that athletes should “focus on the process and not the outcome to succeed”.
Tokyo Paralympics champion Avani Lekhara was utterly dominant at the Para Shooting World Cup as she won the gold medal with an emphatic world record score of 250.6 in women's 10m air rifle standing SH1 in Chateauroux, France on Tuesday. The 20-year-old broke her own previous world record of 249.6 to also secure a spot at the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
She was followed by Poland's Emilia Babska on the podium, who won silver with a score of 247.6. Meanwhile, Sweden's Anna Normann won the bronze with a score of 225.6. SH1 category is for all athletes who have a lower limb impairment. The Para Shooting World Cup, which takes place from June 4 to 13 in France, is of a vital importance to the Paralympic athletes as the Paris Paralympics quota places are on offer here.
Brushing aside the trouble of nearly missing the tournament over visa difficulties, Avani Lekhara went on to bag the top prize at the Para Shooting World Cup. After her impressive performance, she took to her official Twitter account to share her feelings on the historic achievement. She ended her post by thanking the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and all the political leaders who had supported her.