India's Para-shooters Manish Narwal and Avani Lekhara started their 2021 season with a series of gold medals at the first-ever National Para Shooting Championship at the Manav Rachna Shooting Academy in Faridabad.
Both have secured quota spots for India at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, and continued their form with a dominant display in their respective events.
Narwal defeated Singhraj Adhana for the gold medal in the men's 10 metres air pistol SH1, with the pair finishing one and two again in the 50m air pistol mixed SH1 ahead of 2019 World Cup medallist Rahul Jakhar who claimed bronze.
Overall, Narwal took three gold medals in the senior and junior P1 men’s 10m air pistol SH1 and the P4 mixed 50m pistol SH1.
"It was great experience to play a match after so long gap," said Narwal.
"I was eagerly waiting for this opportunity."
Over 200 athletes from 19 states across India participated in the Championship supported by the National Paralympic Committee of India.
Paralympic Committee of India organized a Felicitation Ceremony for several events at the National Para Shooting Championship 2020-21 for Rifle/Pistol events being organized from 1st to 5th March 2021 at Manav Rachna Shooting Range. @ParalympicIndia pic.twitter.com/GIkeaWcG8e— Manav Rachna (@manav_rachna) March 4, 2021
World junior record holder Lekhara won eight medals in the women's competition - six golds and two silvers.
"It was a very nice experience to perform after almost one year," said Lekhara.
"I took it as a trial match for the upcoming World Cup and gave my best."
Among her gold medals, Lekhara won the senior and junior R2 10m air rifle standing SH1, as well as the senior and junior R8 50m air rifle 3 position SH1.
PCI President and Paralympic medallist Deepa Malik attended the opening day of the National Championships.
To open the Championship, two-time Olympic wrestling medallist Sushil Kumar fired the inaugural shot.
Narwal and Lekhara are set to join 11 other shooters at the season opening World Shooting Para Sport World Cup, scheduled to start today in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, concluding on March 25.