Mumbai: Calling it a “golden moment” for the country, film stars Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal among others Monday celebrated shooter Avani Lekhara’s win at the Paralympics in Tokyo as she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Games.
The 19-year-old wheelchair-bound shooter from Jaipur fired her way to the top of the podium in the R-2 women’s 10m air rifle standing SH1 event.
Lekhara, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, finished with a world record equalling total of 249.6, which is also a new Paralympic record.
Kumar took to Twitter and wrote Lekhara had hit the “bullseye” with her win.
“Congratulations #AvaniLekhara for hitting the bullseye and creating history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a #Paralympics gold medal Sports medal. What a debut!” the “BellBottom” actor wrote.
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) August 30, 2021
Kaushal took to Instagram and called Lekhara a “star”.
“First ever Gold for India at Paralympics! Congratulations @avani.Lekhara for this historic win. What a debut! What a star,” the “Uri” actor wrote.
Abhishek Bachchan tweeted, “A gold-en moment for India! Hats off @AvaniLekhara on becoming the first Indian woman to win gold at #TokyoParalympics.”
— Abhishek Bachchan (@juniorbachchan) August 30, 2021
She’s the fourth Indian athlete to win a Paralympics gold after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016) and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).
Kareena took to Instagram and congratulated Lekhara for her historic win.
“Good morning India! Welcome the gold. Pure Sona Avani Lekhara,” Pannu wrote.
GOOD MORNING INDIA ! welcome the GOLD! Pure Sona Avani Lekhara 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 https://t.co/Hr9zvvBU4G
— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) August 30, 2021
Actors Randeep Hooda, Dia Mirza and Rakul Preet Singh also congratulated the shooter.
Apart from Lekhara, two-time gold-winning javelin throw veteran Devendra Jhajharia clinched a stupendous third Paralympic medal, a silver this time, while discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya also finished second as India surpassed its best ever medal tally at the Games.
Sundar Singh Gurjar also chipped in with a bronze, finishing behind Jhajharia in the men’s javelin throw F46 final.
Actor Arjun Rampal tweeted that the Indian team has made everyone “proud” with its performance.
“Congratulations to team India at the #ParalympicsTokyo2020 it’s raining medals and you all have made us all so so proud. Latest a gold for @AvaniLekhara in 10m air rifle. Awesome stuff,” he wrote.
— arjun rampal (@rampalarjun) August 30, 2021
India had won four medals in the 2016 edition while the medal count stands at seven in the ongoing event.