Bindra: 'No more shooting, not even as a hobby'

He said the sight of the original gun, made especially for the Rio Olympics, had broken when it fell in the morning and a spare gun had to be used. But he did not think that had any effect on the results.

Abhinav Bindra acknowledges the crowd after getting eliminated in a shoot-off in the 10m air rifle event in Rio de Janeiro on Monday.   -  PTI

“I am done with shooting, even hobby shooting,” said Abhinav Bindra in detailed comments after coming fourth in the 10m air rifle event here at the Olympic Shooting Centre on Monday.

Talking to reporters an hour after the event, a much more relaxed Bindra said that he did not know what he will do in the future, but shooting would not be any part of it, even as a hobby. He said he had done his best but had come out without a medal.

He said the sight of the original gun, made especially for the Rio Olympics, had broken when it fell in the morning and a spare gun had to be used. But he did not think that had any effect on the results.

Asked whether he would be at least shooting in his backyard range, he quipped: “I am turning that into a vegetable garden."

When asked if he was serious about it, he replied: “Don’t I look like a serious person?”

He shrugged off suggestions that he was trying to put up a brave face, “What else can I do. What do you want me to do, start crying?” he asked. “Yes, I did well. Coming fourth in Olympics was not a mean achievement," he said, minutes after conceding the bronze in a play-off. “One tries to shoot the best in every shot.”

Smiling and joking with the reporters outside the shooting arena because non-rights holding TV crews are not allowed inside, he said he had to work hard and practice constantly for Olympics as “my job is not as easy as yours”.

He did concede that not getting a medal did “hurt a little bit”, but added “that’s life. It’s part and parcel of the game”.

To a question as to how he kept on going, despite some injuries over the last couple of years, Bindra said: “I think motivation is a very intrinsic thing. I wanted to do well trying to overcome challenges, have faith and live in hope.”

Asked if he could coach, he said: “If I start coaching, my students will run away in two hours,” adding that he would have to think about how to make a living.

So how was he planning to give back to the profession or help the young? “I already help about 30 young shooters through my foundation. I will do my best for them,” he said. His message for the young: “Work hard, persist and succeed.”

It seemed that he had quickly made peace with the fact that it was the end of a career without a win. When two TV presenters were trying to pull him away towards their own cameras, he told them: “I have been struggling with myself all morning, I can’t struggle for you. You decide among yourself.”

Asked about the future of Indian shooting, he said he would wait and watch. “May be next time I will come to the Olympics as a journalist. Anyone willing to give me a job?” he asked with a broad smile.