Para Asian Games 2023: India Wins Four Gold Medals To Kicks Off Campaign In Spectacular Style

Avani Lekhara made history as she clinched gold in the women's R2 10m air rifle standing SH1 category with a game record score of 249.6.

Avani Lekhara

India swept all three medals in the men's club throw F51 event with Pranav Soorma winning the gold before star shooter Avani Lekhara triumphed in her competition with a games record at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games in Hangzhou on Monday. (Sports News | Medal Tally)

The 29-year-old Soorma broke the Asian Para Games record with an effort of 30.01m to clinch the gold while Dharambir (28.76m) and Amit Kumar (26.93m) were second and third respectively.

There were only four competitors in the event with Saudi Arabia's Radhi Ali Alharthi finishing last with a throw of 23.77m.

Later in the day, Avani made history as she clinched gold in the women's R2 10m air rifle standing SH1 category with a game record score of 249.6.

The other Indian para shooter Mona Agarwal finished sixth in the standings.

Born in Jaipur in November 2001, Avani met with a road accident in 2012 that made her wheelchair-bound ever since. 

Inspired by Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, her shooting career took off in 2015, and she has never looked back.

Avani burst into the limelight with her stupendous show at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics where she became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in the Summer Games. There, Avani also won a bronze medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions.

Soorma suffered a spinal cord injury after an accident when he was 16-years-old and that left him paralysed. But that did not deter him from taking up para-sports, and he won a silver medal at the 2019 Beijing World Para Athletics Grand Prix event.

The F51 club throw event is for athletes who have movement affected to a high degree in the trunk, legs and hands. All the competitors compete while seated and rely on their shoulders and arms to generate power.

Three Indians also finished 1-2-3 in the men's high jump T63 category but only gold and silver were awarded under Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) rules.

The three Indians were the only competitors in the event and under APC's 'minus one rule', Shailesh Kumar won the gold with an Asian Para Games record jump of 1.82m while Mariyappan Thangavelu (1.80m) took the silver.

Govindbhai Ramsingbhai Padhiyar (1.78m) cannot win a bronze under APC rules.

At least four athletes need to be in the fray to award all three medals.    

"In exceptional cases where only three or fewer athletes compete, the medal will be awarded following the 'minus-one rule'. For example, if an event is finalised by 2 athletes/teams only, only a gold medal will be allocated," according to the APC rule book.

The 23-year-old Kumar had won a silver in the World Para Athletics Championships earlier this year while Thangavelu was fourth. Both have qualified for next year's Paris Paralympics.

Thangavelu had won a gold medal in the high jump T42 category in the 2016 Rio Paralympics and silver in T63 in the Tokyo Paralympics.

In the T63 classification, athletes with a single leg above-the-knee amputation compete with a prosthesis.

Nishad Kumar won India's third gold of the day in men's high jump T47 class as he cleared a height of 2.02m while compatriot Ram Pal took the bronze with an effort of 1.94m.

The T47 classification is meant for athletes with a below elbow or wrist amputation or impairment.

Monu Ghangas won the bronze medal in the men's shot put F11 event with an effort of 12.33m.

In the women's canoe VL2 event, Prachi Yadav won a silver with a time of 1:03.147.

In para-sports, athletes are classified according to the degree of activity limitation resulting from the impairment. Classification determines which athletes are eligible to compete in a particular event. This is done to ensure fair competition.