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India at Tokyo Paralympics: Avani Wins Gold, Jhajaria & Kathuniya Bag Silver

19-year-old shooter Avani Lekhara has won the first gold medal for India at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Updated
Sports
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Avani Lekhara has won the gold medal for India at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.</p></div>
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It's been a big day for India win multiple medals being won at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Shooter Avani Lekhara won the first gold medal for the country at this edition of the games, in the women's 10m Air Rifle SH1 with a world record score of 249.6 in the elimination round.

The 19-year-old Avani, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, qualified seventh for the final but shot superbly to leapfrog to the top in the final.

China's Zhang Cuiping took silver, as she did in Rio 2016, with a score of 248.9 while Ukraine's Iryna Schetnik finished with a total of 227.5 for bronze.

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Yogesh Kathuniya then won a silver medal in the men's discus throw F56 with a best effort of 44.38 in the final.

Brazil's Santos doe Claudiney Batista bagged the gold with a new Paralympic Games record of 45.59 while Cuba's Leonardo Alandana Diaz took bronze with a best throw of 43.36.

Kathuniya, the 24-year-old from Delhi who suffered a paralytic attack at the age of eight which resulted in impaired coordination in his limbs, was in gold medal position till Batista achieved 44.57 in his first throw as the seventh athlete in order of throws.

In Standing or Seated Discus Throw, each participant makes all his/her six throws at one go before the next participant in the order gets his chance.

The Brazilian produced his best effort of 45.59 in his sixth and last throw to set a Paralympic Games record.

Kathuniya, who achieved his season's best on Monday had to be satisfied with silver as the Brazilian is the world record holder in this category with a best of 46.58.

Double Paralympic Games gold medallist Devendra Jhajaria's hopes of extending his legacy by winning the third gold did not materialise as the Indian had to be satisfied with a silver medal in the men's Javelin Throw F46 category.

Jhajharia, who won gold medals in 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio with world record throws, threw 64.35, much farther than his world record of 63.97 but Sri Lanka's Dinesh Priyan Mudiyanselage Herath produced a gigantic throw of 67.79 to set a new world record and win the gold medal.

Sundar Singh Gurjar, a two-time World Championship gold medallist, took bronze with a best throw of 64.01 metres on Monday.

Jhajharia had reached Tokyo with hopes of winning a third gold medal in javelin throw F46, the first Indian to do so. He was in good form coming into Tokyo Paralympics as he had crossed his world record mark during the national trials at New Delhi in June this year.

He was quite confident of repeating his performance and winning his third gold with a world record. Indeed he did manage to produce his personal best but Herath turned out to be a surprise package.

Jhajharia had started with 60.28 in his first throw and hurled the spear to 64.35 off his third throw. He tried to improve it further but fouled his next two throws and could manage only 61.23 on his sixth and final attempt.

It was quiet redemption for Gurjar as he had tragically missed a chance to compete at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 because he turned up late for his event. On Monday, Gurjar started with 62.26 metres in his first throw and produced his best distance of the day with 64.01 in his fifth chance.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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