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Big Picture Contest

Did this Olympian overcome her disappointment?

This is Avani Lekhara who won a Gold & a Bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics.

A childhood mishap can leave a person adrift for life. But not when you have the grit of Avani Lekhara. After an accident at the tender age of 11 caused significant damage to both her legs, she was left unable to walk and became confined to a wheelchair. This did not deter her spirit though. Inspired by her idol Abhinav Bindra, she took to shooting as her sport.

Avani's father desperately wanted his daughter to re-establish some sort of normalcy in life, leaving behind the depressed pockets she looked like pushing herself into. So he took her, in 2015, to the shooting range in Jaipur’s Jagatpura. From that 2015 day when she first held a rifle in her hands, Avani has never looked back. "Shooting gave me a lot of self-confidence, self-belief, that I can do anything in life. That was the turning point," says Avani.

She never seriously thought of taking up archery, though she did give it a try before landing up at the shooting range. "I just tried it (archery) once or twice, didn't start, just went for a day or two...But I felt so connected to shooting, especially rifle shooting," she adds.

It wasn't long before Avani won medals at the National Championships and in two years came the international call-up. At the 2017 World Cup in Al-Ain, Avani made her debut and won a medal as well. She believes that medal gave her the belief that she belonged to the sport. Tokyo proved the watershed moment Avani had in her sights from the day she turned international in 2017.

The 19-year-old entered the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as a strong contender, but no one expected her to win a medal as this was supposed to be her learning curve on the big stage. When she stepped on to the Asaka shooting range she created magic with her rifle in the women's 10m rifle Standing SH1 event. She thus created history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. She was also part of the women's 50m 3 position SH1 event at Tokyo, in which she finished with a bronze.

Avani lived the motto her Twitter bio proudly carries: "Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those cards you hold well.”

Winners of Big Picture Contest

Kanta Sukhwani
Gandhinagar
Narayan
Bangalore
Ayushi
Dehradun
Aaaa Bbbb
Mumbai
Saurabh Agarwal
Jaipur
Himanshu Shah
Ahmedabad
Satveer Singh
Ghaziabad
Shivani
Indore Mp
Manish Kumar
Hisar
Happytimes User
Navi Mumbai
Aaaa Bbbb
Chennai
Prabin Kumar Baid
Kolkata
Neha Gurnani
Mumbai
R. Brinda
Madurai
Shantha Menon
Bangalore
Happytimes User
Bangalore
Sirwani Sonu
Pune
Sadik
Muzaffarnagar
Anil Kumar Saha
Kolkata
Saurabh Chhabra
Lucknow
Aafaq Ansari
Delhi
Samsad Alam
Kolkata
Monica Verma
Ghaziabad
Happytimes User
Ghaziabad
Gopal M
Mumbai
Fahmida
Kodarma
Gaana User
Howrah
Anita
New Delhi
Gargee
Kolkata
Aleeza
Ranchi

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