When Avani Lekhara’s father Praveen first took her to a shooting range in 2015, the goal was to “cheer up an angry girl” and bring some semblance of normalcy back to her. life after a car accident left her standing still. Know that just one gesture on her part will ultimately change her daughter’s life forever, culminating in a historic gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Monday.
“Before the accident, she was very active and participated in all activities, but the accident changed her life,” Praveen Lekhara told PTI. “She was angry with her condition and didn’t want to talk to anyone. For a change, I took her to the JDA shooting range in Jagatpura, Jaipur, where she developed an interest in shooting, ”said Lekhara.
Paralyzed at the waist, these visits to the shooting range worked wonders as Lekhara began to be drawn to sports and she found a purpose in life. Buying his daughter the autobiography of Olympic shooting champion Abhinav Bindra – A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold – was the next best thing he did for Lekhara. She started reading the book and was immediately inspired by the story of India’s first individual gold medalist at the Olympics. Since April 2015, she has been a regular at the shooting range.
Lekhara, who suffered spinal cord injuries in a car crash in 2012, finished with a world record totaling 249.6, which is also a new Paralympic record. Tied to a wheelchair, she initially encountered difficulties, and the gun and shooting kit was also not available.
“However, her coach offered full cooperation and she started to perform well. With her exemplary determination, she excelled in the game and won the state gold medal and the national bronze medal in 2015. her, “said Praveen. Lekhara senior has been inundated with phone calls since news broke in the morning of his daughter bringing laurels to the country. Gurjar won the bronze medal in the men’s javelin throw in Tokyo.
Gurjar trained at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur under the supervision of his coach Mahaveer Saini. “The whole village is happy with the accomplishment. Even though he was sure to win the gold medal, he missed it, ”said his brother Hariom Gurjar.
He said most of the villagers gathered in two places – at their homes to watch the game on television and at the temple where special worship was being held for Sundar’s success. “Sweets were traded and the achievement celebrated,” he said.
“Sundar is married and has two children. One of them was born on Janmasthmi Day last year and this year in Janmashtami Sundar brought laurels to the nation, ”he said. Gurjar’s mother is the Sarpanch of the local gram panchayat.
Besides Lekhara and Gurjar, javelin throwers Devendra Jhajharia, who won a silver medal in Tokyo, also belong to Rajasthan. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot congratulated the players and announced cash rewards.
Lekhara will receive Rs 3 crore for winning the gold medal, Jhajharia will receive Rs 2 crore for the silver and Gurjar will receive Rs 1 crore for claiming the bronze. “The state players have brought laurels to the country and the state by winning medals, we are very proud of them,” Gehlot tweeted.
All three athletes have already been appointed to the post of Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) in the state forestry department.
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