Avani Lekhara is an Indian Para Shooter. In 2021, at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, she created history by clinching a gold medal in a 10m air rifle and a bronze in a 50m rifle shooting. With this victory, she became the first Indian woman to win two medals in Paralympics. On winning this event, she was ranked at 5th position in the world by ‘World Shooting Para Sports Rankings.’ She also won a gold medal in Asian Para Games in 2018.
Avani Lekhara was born on Thursday, 8 November 2001 (age 20 years; as of 2021) in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. She did her schooling at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jaipur. Scroll After completing her schooling, she went to the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur to pursue her Law degree. Paralympic Website
Height (approx.): 5′ 3″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Praveen Lekhara, and he is a state government tax officer.
Her mother’s name is Shweta Lekhara, and she is a state government tax officer.
She has a younger brother named Arnav Lekhara.
Spinal Cord Injury (Paraplegia)
When she was 11 years old, she met with an accident in 2012. She received a spinal cord injury that paralysed her below the waist. This accident caused her paraplegia. After three years of the accident, her father encouraged her to participate in sports. She received her initial training in both archery and shooting. Later, she opted for shooting as her main sport.
Para Shooting Career
In 2015, she began shooting at Jagatpura Sports Complex in Jaipur, India. In 2017, Avani Lekhara participated in World Cup Tournament at Al Ain, UAE and made her international debut in shooting sports.
She made a record in R2 at the WSPS World Cup Al Ain in 2017 and clinched a silver medal. She won a bronze medal in R2 at the WSPS World Cup Bangkok in 2017. In 2018, she won a gold medal in 10m Rifle, Prone and 3P events at the World Shooting Para Sport World Cup, Dubai. She clinched 3 Gold medals in the 63rd National Shooting Championships, Bhopal in 2019. In the same year, she won 3 Gold medals in the XIX Kumar Surendra Singh Memorial Shooting Championship, New Delhi. In 2019, in R2 at the WSPS World Cup in Osijek, she won a silver medal. At XIX Kumar Surendra Singh Memorial Shooting Championship, New Delhi in 2019, she won a silver medal. In 2019, at 63rd National Shooting Championships, Bhopal, she clinched a bronze medal.
In 2021, she won a silver medal in R2 at the WSPS World Cup Al Ain, UAE. In Tokyo Paralympics 2021, she scored 249.6 points in the final event and set a Paralympic and world record. She defeated her opponent China’s Zhang Cuiping in the final round. In an interview with Hindustan Times, after winning the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics she said that she was feeling on top of the world. She disclosed,
I can’t describe this feeling, I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable. I’m so happy I could be the one to contribute to it. Hopefully, there’s a lot of medals more to come. I’m so happy I could be the one to contribute to it. Hopefully, there’s a lot of medals more to come.”
🇮🇳 National Anthem at Tokyo🇮🇳
Avani Lekhara clinches India's first gold in the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics by winning the women's 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event.Avani becomes the only #IND woman to win a Gold 🥇 in Olympics/Paralympics #AvaniLekhara pic.twitter.com/ZGTZOzGCcb
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) August 30, 2021
Awards, Honours, Achievements
In 2017, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje presented Avani with the Rising Star award for her outstanding performance in shooting.
- Avani Lekhara plays a 10m air rifle standing SH1.
- Suma Siddharth Shirur is Avani Lekhara’s personal coach.
- In her leisure time, Avani Lekhara adores listening to music, watching films and television, cooking, baking, spending time with her family.
- Her favourite shooter and shooting inspiration is former Olympic winner Abhinav Bindra.
- Avani Lekhara’s sports training is supported through the Para Champions Programme by GoSports Foundation.
- According to Avani Lekhara, the car accident in 2012 left her paralysed below her waist. In a conversation with Hindustan Times, she said,
Prior to the accident, I had always participated in co-curricular activities in school, like dancing, but after that everything changed. I was very angry at my physical condition. It was causing severe mental agony. I had no desire to talk to anyone.”
- Her sports philosophy is,
Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those cards you hold well.”
- The GoSports Foundation in India titled her the Most Promising Paralympic Athlete in 2019. Paralympic Website
- As per Avani Lekhara, she has a spinal cord disability, and she is not able to move below her waist. She does leg exercises daily with the help of a physiotherapist. In an interview with The Times of India, she expressed,
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 stay. It’s a long way for her to travel.”
She further revealed the difficulties she faced while shooting at home,
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 without pellets and ammunition. And these will also build my core muscles.”
- In one of her Instagram posts, Avani shared a heartfelt caption with two photographs while comparing her life after ten years of her car accident.
- In 2020, Avani demonstrated some exercises on her social media account through a video during the coronavirus pandemic. These exercises were for the persons who were using wheelchairs.
@AvaniLekhara International Ace @ShootingPara demonstrates few exercises @ home for Wheelchair Persons #IndiaFightsCoronavirus @narendramodi @Paralympics @asianparalympic @Jaiprakashnauti @KirenRijiju @RijijuOffice @CEO_Cairn @CairnOilandGas @HeroMotoCorp @DeepaAthlete @swamiiii pic.twitter.com/K8eLCEixkD
— Paralympic India 🇮🇳 #Cheer4India 🏅 #Praise4Para (@ParalympicIndia) April 6, 2020
- Avani Lekhara became the first Indian women Para shooter to win a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in 2021. The Hindu
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Avani Lekhara on Twitter after winning gold for India in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics on 30 August 2021.
- Avani Lekhara is an animal lover. She often posts pictures of her pet dog on her social media account.
- In 2021, Avani dedicated her 2020 Tokyo Paralympic gold medal to the whole country. In a conversation with India Today, she stated,
This medal is not mine, it’s for the entire country. I want to dedicate this medal to the entire country.”
Her father revealed in the same interview,
I am sure she will be having some continental food and listening to her favourite Punjabi songs to celebrate this medal.”