The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games saw seasoned stars mark their greatness even as new champions rose up with their sharp shooting skills during seven days of thrilling action at the Asaka Shooting Range.
LEKHARA REACHES HISTORIC GOLD
It was a story of ‘rough’ and ‘hard work’ as teenage Avani Lekhara won the historic gold medal for India, winning the R2 10m Women’s Standing SH1 Air Rifle at the Games Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. In doing so, she became the first Indian female Paralympic gold medalist and the first in the country to win a gold medal in 45 years of sports history.
Lekhara is awesome the total of 249.6 points also tied the world record as she admitted she felt “on top of the world”. For a 19-year-old, filming with so much maturity, focus and composure was incredible. She was in fact the only shooter in the final to produce a perfect score of 10.9 in the playoff round.
The Tokyo 2020 show makes her a strong prospect for India in Paris 2024.
MOST IMPROVED SHUFFLE MEDAL CHART
While China maintained its leading place in the medal table by winning four of the 13 gold medals at stake, countries like India and Serbia improved their show by winning two gold medals each.
With new faces at the top of the podium, India was actually the most improved nation at these Games. Lekhara’s historic exploits were followed by the impressive spectacle of Manish Narwal in the mixed 50m SH1 pistol final where he broke a Paralympic record of 218.2 points for gold.
It was a double joy for India as Singhraj Adana won the silver medal with 216.7 points.
Multiple world champion Dragan Ristic’s first Paralympic gold medal in the men’s R5 SH2 final – 10m mixed air rifle was the highlight for Serbia. It was the country’s first medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games and Ristic won it in style overcoming a tough challenge from two-time Paralympic champion Vasyl Kovalchuk of Ukraine.
GERMANY’S GOLDEN CAMPAIGN IN 17 YEARS
Natascha Hiltrop ended Germany’s 17-year wait for a Paralympic gold in parasport shooting when she won the historic gold in the SH1 R3 – Mixed 10m Air Finals. In one of the tightest finals which saw the medalists separated by just 0.1 points, Hiltrop defeated South Korea’s Jinho Park to improve her silver medal at Rio 2016.
Hiltrop was just 0.2 point ahead with one shot to go, and the German showed nerves of steel to shoot 10.6 while Park got 10.7. But that wasn’t enough to beat Hiltrop.
VADOVICOVA STAMPS LIKE BEST EVER
Veronika Vadovicova did her best for the final day of the Tokyo 2020 Games as she clinched her fourth Paralympic gold medal winning the SH1 R6 – mixed 50m rifle final.
In another advantage of the siege fixtures, Vadovicova emerged victorious by signing just 0.4 points ahead of Anna Normann of Sweden.
The victory also meant that Vadovicova became Slovakia’s most decorated Paralympic athlete – ahead of table tennis player Jan Riapos – with four gold, one silver and one bronze in four Games.
ABDULLA SULTAN ALARYANI CHALLENGES THE PRESSURE
Veteran shooter Abdulla Sultan Alaryani delivered when needed, while restoring national pride of his country the United Arab Emirates following the failure of able-bodied shooters at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Alaryani won the UAE’s first gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games by triumphing in the SH1 finals of the 50m R7-mixed air rifle positions, a result he had to wait nine years.
The 51-year-old UAE star, who won a gold medal at the London 2012 Games and three silver medals at Rio 2016, finished ahead of Rio 2016 champion Laslo Suranji of Serbia (452.9) and Korean Youngjip Shim (442.2).
Knowing how much this gold medal would mean for his country and his compatriots, Alaryani was “proud” of himself and his achievement as he admitted it was the most difficult final he ever had. has never played in her career.
CHINESE LEGENDS IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
Chinese gun greats Zhang Cuiping and Dong Chao have won three straight titles after triumphing in style at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Chao was at his usual best to win the R1 – SH1 men’s standing 10m air rifle with a Paralympic record of 246.4 points. The Chinese, who led from start to finish ahead of Andrii Doroshenko and Park Jinho, was overwhelmed by the result adding that the gold medal treble was beyond his expectations.
Meanwhile, Cuiping was invincible in the SH1 R8 – 50m Women’s 3 Position Rifle Finals as she won her third consecutive title in the event. It was also his fourth consecutive medal in this event, adding to the gold medals at the Paralympic Games in London 2012 and Rio 2016 in addition to the bronze medal in Beijing 2008.
After following Germany’s Hiltrop to the final shot, Cuiping used her self-confidence to get a 10.3 while the first only managed 8.7 to lose the title to the Chinese.