Shooter Avani Lekhara said on Friday that a good, friendly and supportive environment helps in readying a good mindset during the events in the ongoing Paralympics. She also considers herself very thankful for having a supportive team.
The 19-year-old Avani won the bronze medal in the 50m rifle 3 position SH1 event at the Tokyo Paralympics. Earlier, she had won the gold medal in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event.
Avani is now the first woman and second Indian overall to claim multiple medals in the same edition of the Paralympics.
“I have a very wonderful team. My coaches JP Nautiyal sir, Subhash Rana sir, Suma mam, my support staff here, all the team members and other athletes. We have a very good environment, friendly and very supportive. So, that helps a lot in readying a good mindset,” said Avani in a virtual interaction organised by Eurosport and the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
“In between changeovers when I was doing something wrong or some problem occurred, Suma mam motivated me a lot and has worked hard with me. So, it is like a team effort and I am very thankful that I have got a wonderful team like this,” added Avani.
Avani qualified at second place for the final of 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 event with a score of 1176, including 51 inner 10s. In the final, she shot a 10.5 compared to 9.9 by Iryna Shchetnik of Ukraine in the bronze shoot-off. After shooting 10.2, the total of 445.9 was enough to give her the bronze medal.
However, Avani was not satisfied with the bronze. “I was not satisfied with the gold only (laughed). I always wanted to fire my last shot better. This bronze is definitely not satisfying.”
She revealed that her plan was to do well in the standing positions of the final. “My standing is stronger than other two positions. The plan was to give my best in standing. I just concentrated on myself and gave my full focus in standing position. Then it went like that.
“From the starting it was not that good because that’s what finals do to you, you become nervous. I had never won a medal in 3P. This is my first international medal in 3P. So, I was more nervous. But I just kept my focus on the shots, like the last match when I was focusing on one shot at a time. And it just happened,” explained Avani.
With her last event of the Paralympics, mixed 50m rifle prone event scheduled for Sunday, Avani is now fully concentrated on giving her best. “I just want to give my 100% and focus on the next event. I don’t want to keep this in my heart that I wish I had done better if there was more time. All the celebrations right now can be kept aside as I am focusing on the next match.”