A decade old Olympic gold by Abhinav Bindra continues to inspire

By reaching the pinnacle of shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra has revitalized Indian sport.

A champion of rare calibre, Abhinav Bindra will continue to contribute to the growth of Indian sport.   -  Getty Images

It is the tenth anniversary today, of Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic gold in Beijing. Indian sport has moved a lot forward over the last decade, but the moment remains unmatched.

Some of us who were lucky to be present at the shooting range on August 11, 2008, in China, have distinct memories of the tension before the final, and the overwhelming flow of emotions after the triumph.

“Not again” was the first thought when one noticed a ridiculously low score by Abhinav on the first “sighting” shot, as the shooters were getting ready for the climax. Abhinav was already trailing the leader by two points in the qualification, in those days when the qualification score was carried forward to the final.

In Athens, a dodgy wooden flooring had robbed him of an Olympic medal in 2004, when he was shooting at his very best, but returned poor scores in the final. Not again was a thought triggered in the knowledge of such background.

In Athens, when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the present Union Sports Minister, fired his way to the Olympic silver in double trap, he was gracious to answer the media in the press conference with a convincing remark that, “Abhinav will be a World Champion one day”.

"Abhinav will be a World Champion one day," were Rathore's words after his 2004 Olympics Silver medal and two years later Abhinav Bindra won the World Championship in Zagreb.   -  Sandeep Saxena

 

Abhinav did become a World Champion in 2006 in Zagreb, but that meant little as he had to endure the silent pain of having to swallow his pride when the decision makers in the national federation openly toyed with the idea of replacing him in the Olympic squad with the newly crowned Asian champion.

Abhinav had many scores to settle but the score on the computer, at the moment of reckoning, was devastating in Beijing. It was bone chilling for those who understood the gravity of the situation with a 4, mocking at the dreams, on the monitor.

Read: Man with a golden gun

It was here that Abhinav pulled himself up to show his supreme quality. He tuned the misbehaving rifle in moments and stayed focused on the target, forgetting that it was an Olympic final! Years of

perfection took over, to put Abhinav on auto-pilot. Athens experience had helped him stay detached from the results.

Abhinav closed the show with a near-perfect 10.8 last shot to leave the defending champion Zhu Qinan of China 0.8 point behind, and in a flood of tears that never dried up.

“The gold medal was a great moment but in sport, yesterday never counts,” Abhinav responded from Vienna on Friday, when congratulated for the golden anniversary.

As an athlete and as an administrator, Bindra's way has always been forward.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

 

Having moved on and having been entrusted with the new responsibility of being a member of the Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a day earlier, Abhinav said that he did not like to dwell in the past.

“I don’t live in the past, but I do hope that the achievement continues to inspire Indian athletes and propel them to win their own gold medals’’, Abhinav said, as he allowed himself a little more freedom to express his desire to see more Olympic champions from the country.

In Pictures: When India celebrated Abhinav Bindra’s Gold medal

Having done exceptional work as the Chairman of the Athletes Commission of the International Shooting Federation (ISSF), Abhinav was gracious with his expression about the latest honour.

“The IOC nomination is not just a personal recognition but of the work done within the ISSF and the athletes committee”, Abhinav said, as he deflected appreciation.

A champion of rare calibre, Abhinav Bindra will continue to contribute to the growth of world sports, even though his heart yearns for Indian sport to spring to life in a robust fashion.

For sure, he is the man for the moment, then and now!