Two paralympic players from Rajasthan, Avani Lekhara, and Krishna Nagar, who won gold medals in the recently held Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, have been recommended for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest recognition for sports in the country.
Avani bagged two medals in shooting while Nagar won gold in the badminton SH6 category. Both players are from Jaipur and it is for the first time in the history of the Khel Ratna, started in 1991, that two players from the same city are being felicitated with the award.
Avani is the first Indian woman to win gold medal either at the Paralympic or Olympic Games. She won gold in 10 metre air rifle SH1 and bronze in women’s 50 metre air rifle SH1.
Avani is the youngest to be nominated for the award. In 2012, she met with an accident that led to paralysis wait-down. However, the brave girl did not give up and started practicing shooting.
Nagar’s story is also of struggles. He suffered from an incurable illness due to which his height got restricted to around 4.2 feet. His family motivated him and he has been ranked World No 2 in the para-badminton men’s singles SH6 category for the last few years. At the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Nagar won the gold medal by beating Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai 21-16, 16-21, 21-17.