It was a memorable day for Indian athletes at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics on Monday as multiple medal wins, including a historic gold, helped the country surpass its best-ever medal haul at the Games.
19-year-old Avani Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win an individual gold at a Paralympic event, shooting a total of 249.6 in the women's 10m Air Rifle SH1 final. The Jaipur girl, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, set a new Paralympic record with her score and equalled the current world record.
"I can't describe this feeling, I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world. It's unexplainable," she said after her wining India's first Paralympic medal in shooting.
Watch the moment she arrives at the podium to collect her gold medal, with the Indian tricolour going up as the national anthem plays in the background.
Her win was quickly followed by Yogesh Kathuniya bagging a silver in the men's discus throw F56 final, which was India's fifth at the ongoing Paralympics, one more than the country managed five years ago in Rio.
The 24-year-old, who suffered a paralytic attack at the age of eight which left him with coordination impairments in his limbs, secured second place after throwing his disc a distance of 44.38m.
Kathuniya was emotional after his win, recalling his struggles with training during the pandemic period, when facilities were shut for the better part of two years. He also said that he trained for the Paralympics without a coach and that motivates him a lot to win a gold in the next edition of the Games.
Javelin throwers Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar then won a silver and bronze medal respectively in the F46 final. Jhajaria recorded a personal best throw of 64.35m to secure his third Paralympic medal, after clinching gold at both the 2004 and 2016 Games.
On Sunday, Bhavina Patel opened India's medal account, securing silver in table tennis after losing the final to China's world number one Zhou Ying.
High jumper Nishad Kumar then won a silver medal in the T47 class, while discus thrower Vinod Kumar won bronze in the F52 event. However, the latter's result is on hold, due to a contention in his disability class.