In awe of Abhinav Bindra

Although I couldn’t talk to him, I was happy just to see him.

“Looking at him (Abhinav Bindra) during a function in Jaipur, I thought to myself that one day, I should also be able to get on the stage,” says ace archer Rajat Chauhan.   -  AP

Abhinav Bindra came to my hometown, Jaipur, for a function after he had won the Olympic gold medal in 2008. It was my first year in archery. I was part of a group of kids the organisers had brought in to be seated below the stage. Although I couldn’t talk to him, I was happy just to see him.

I was never in awe of any athlete or individual as much as I was of Bindra. For him to achieve an individual Olympic gold medal (in shooting) at the age of 25 is such a big deal according to me. Looking at him then, I thought to myself that one day, I should also be able to get on the stage.

The next time I met him was during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, where I took a photo with him. Even then I couldn’t talk much to him. I had no words to say! It was probably the excitement of standing so close to him. I was just happy to take a photo with him!

Another athlete I was privileged to meet was Sushil Kumar when we trained together at the Centre of Excellence in Sonipat. I used to take laddoos from Jaipur for him and every evening he used to sing Ragni (Haryanvi) songs for me.

He advised me to approach important tournaments with an open mind, which proved to be useful for me. He told me that I should give my best even if my equipment isn’t up to the mark.