Mumbai: Murlikant Patkar is the first Indian to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. On Monday, he was ecstatic as he heard of Avani Lekhara becoming the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games.
Petkar had won a gold medal in 50m freestyle swimming in 1972 Games in Heidelberg. On Monday, Avani bagged gold in R2 – Women’s 10m Air Rifle SH1, setting a World Record in the process.
So, Petkar penned a message — from one pioneer to another, wishing the 19-year-old Avani more records and success.
“Avani Lekhara won a gold medal in 10m air rifle standing at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and become the first ever Indian woman gold medallist. This news made my day. Really very proud of her,” Petkar told IANS in a message on Monday evening.
“All her efforts and hard work has paid off today,” said the 74-year-old Petkar who suffered debilitating injuries in an aerial attack during the 1965 war with Pakistan.
In the last five decades Petkar has seen many a Indian para sportsperson struggle to succeed and is therefore aware of Avani’s efforts to make it big.
“Being a Paralympian, the journey must have been difficult but she stood strong against all odds and engraved her name in the history of Indian Paralympics,” he said of Avani’s achievement.
“You will stand as an inspiration for all the youths in India. Best wishes for further records and success,” said Petkar.
Having opened India’s medal account in the Paralympics, Petkar is thrilled to see the country come up with its best performance ever in the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Monday.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. The potential for greatness lives within each of us. India won 7 medals so far in the Tokyo Paralympics. And many more are yet to come,” he said.
“I am extremely happy and proud to see Indian Paralympians to win medals. Congratulations to all our winners. I wish you all the very best going forward,” he added.
“The Olympics is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come. All the very best and congratulations to the participants and winners of Paralympics,” he further said.
Indian Paralympians’ brilliant performance since Rio 2016 had excited Petkar so much that he got into a bet with his son Arjun that the country will win more medals at Tokyo Paralympics than the seven bagged at the Tokyo Olympics.
Petkar is on the verge of winning that bet as India has won seven medal in the Paralympic Games so far.