India witnessed a historic moment this morning as shooter Avani Lekhara became the first woman from the country to win a Paralympic gold medal. She won the medal in the women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing (SH1) event at the Tokyo Paralympics.
As wishes poured in from all quarters, industrialist Anand Mahindra announced a special gift for the champion. In a tweet, the Chairman of the Mahindra Group announced that the company will dedicate its “first-ever customised sport utility vehicle (SUV) for those with disabilities” to shooter Avani Lekhara.
Sharing the news on Twitter, Anand Mahindra said that the idea for such a vehicle was presented to the automobile industry by the President of the Paralympic Committee of India, Deepa Malik. The purpose of the SUV would be to make travelling by road a comfortable and easy experience for people with special abilities.
In the tweet, Anand Mahindra said, “A week ago, Deepa Malik suggested that we develop SUV for those with disabilities. Like the one she uses in Tokyo. I requested my colleague Velu, who heads Development to rise to that challenge. Well, Velu, I’d like to dedicate & gift the first one you make to Avani Lekhara.”
A week ago @DeepaAthlete suggested that we develop SUV’s for those with disabilities. Like the one she uses in Tokyo.I requested my colleague Velu, who heads Development to rise to that challenge. Well, Velu, I’d like to dedicate & gift the first one you make to #AvaniLekharahttps://t.co/J6arVWxgSA
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) August 30, 2021
Here’s what Deepa Malik had tweeted:
Impressed with this technology.Sincerely hope Automobile world in India can give us this dignity and comfort.. I love to drive big SUVs but getting in and out is a challenge, Give me this seat n I buy your SUV @anandmahindra@TataCompanies@RNTata2000@MGMotorIn#Tokyo2020pic.twitter.com/0yFGwvl46V
— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) August 20, 2021
The industrialist’s decision was met with a positive response on social media. Reacting to the tweet, one user said, “Wish there were many more of your kind to give a level playing field for our special children to excel in their chosen fields.”
Always ahead Mahindra Sir. Wish there were many more of your kind to give a level playing field for our special children to excel in their chosen fields https://t.co/QCDVUKY0IS
— alka bhargava (@alka_b87) August 30, 2021
Another user commented that such gestures of appreciation were essential for athletes.
Wat good move. Need this kind of appreciation for athletes, nice see such kind gesture from mahindra. https://t.co/bl8QZt6Jvv
— ಕಿಶೋರ್ ಹೆಚ್ ಎನ್ (@kishorhn) August 30, 2021
“A fantastic welcome move,” said another user.
Innovation & Dedication. A fantastic wellcome move. ???????????? https://t.co/wLPfTYb2vE
— Shubhal Shah (@ShubhalShah) August 30, 2021
Another user hoped that other corporations would also follow suit and reward the athletes.
Such a great gesture @anandmahindra Sir!!
Hopefully other corporates would take it as an example and reward our Champs!! https://t.co/Pra0LfQhE5
— Dil se Fauji ???????????????? (@MUKUL_VYAS) August 30, 2021
In addition to being the first Indian to win a Paralympic gold medal, Avani Lekhara also holds the distinction of setting a new Paralympic record with her score of 249.6. The 19-year-old who is from Jaipur had sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012.