ABHINAV BINDRA

Gold: Shooting, men’s 10m air rifle; Beijing 2008.

Abhinav Bindra... Gold medal in Shooting, men’s 10m air rifle; Beijing 2008.   -  Getty Images

On the morning of August 11, 2008, India finally won an individual gold medal at the Olympics. It took an exceptional performance from an exceptional man to win the top honour. Abhinav Bindra showed nerves of steel and determination to emerge victor in the final of the 10m air rifle at the Beijing Shooting Range. His last 10 shots fetched him an astonishing 104.5 points and his compatriots their greatest joy.

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It was India’s first gold medal at the Olympics after the hockey team triumphed in Moscow 1980. For Bindra, it was a stirring success after narrowly missing the mark in Sydney, where he nearly qualified for the final, and Athens, where he made it to the final, with a world record to boot, only to finish last.

The Athens show hurt him. “It devastated me and stirred me to anger,” he would write in his autobiography, A Shot at History, later.