Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi
A 25-year-old Abhinav Bindra entered the 10m Air Rifle event on August 11th 2008, like any other shooter that day-Looking to give his best and stand on the podium at the end of it.
But little did he know that in the next 90 mins, he was going to stamp his name in the history books and create a benchmark for many upcoming sportspersons.
Bindra fired his way to the elusive Gold defeating a fine group of competitors, with a final score of 104.5, after a qualifying score of 596 that put him in 4th place and along with providing a proud moment for India, he also put the demons of Athens 2004, where he finished a demoralising 7th, to sleep, once-and-for-all.
Everybody present at Beijing that day, who had tracked Bindra’s career closely, who had seen him win medal-after-medal in several age group competitions, Commonwealth Games, Nationals etc would say that it was a well-deserved medal.
Four years is a long time and to remain passionate about your goals and to have that single-minded desire to be nothing but the best requires oceans of discipline, practice and above all, self-motivation.
Bindra had all that and became the 1st Indian since the Vasudevan Bhaskaran-led Indian Hockey team to win a Gold at the Summer Games.
He also became the 1st Indian to hold both a World Championships Gold, which he won two years earlier in Zagreb and an Olympic Gold in the same cycle. He still remains the only Indian to achieve the feat.
Surprisingly, in his excellent autobiography, A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to the Olympic Gold, the shooter writes that winning the former in Zagreb in 2006 was a bit more satisfying experience than the Gold in the latter in 2008.
But Beijing now is 7 years old and Bindra is nearing the last stretch of his career, that has lasted close to two decades.
He is still winning Golds, competing hard but perhaps isn’t as obsessed as he was for the main prize in Beijing. But the passion is certainly intact and there is no doubting that he will up and ready for Rio in 7 months time.
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