Celebrating ten years of India’s first ever individual Olympic gold

Celebrating ten years of India’s first ever individual Olympic gold
Highlights

In the Mens 10m Air Rifle event, a 25 year old Indian shooter, shoots a near to perfect 108 in his final shot He then knows he has won an Olympic medal but was unsure about which one

In the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event, a 25 year old Indian shooter, shoots a near to perfect 10.8 in his final shot. He then knows he has won an Olympic medal but was unsure about which one. The whole world except the players know that he has won a gold medal because of the scores displayed on monitors and TV screens. Abhinav Bindra has won the gold medal. Indian Olympic history was rewritten.

“I realised I had won the gold when I went to my coach and asked her. I obviously knew I had done enough to win a medal but I wasn’t sure if it was the gold medal. And when I went and hugged my coach Gabby, that is when I realised that I won a gold medal,” said Abhinav after he had won the medal.

Abhinav Bindra’s biopic is in the works. He had managed to detach himself from the desired end result and stay focused. “I would put the medal in a kitchen cabinet or something like that. I am not particularly sentimental or emotional about the actual piece of metal. What I really am emotional and close to is the whole journey of 22 years, striving to win a gold medal. Looking back it’s not that piece of metal which is gratifying to me or which gives me a sense of pride but my journey which gives me a sense of pride,” said Bindra when asked about what he thinks of the Olympic medal he won.

“The final of the Olympic Games in 2008 were the 10 best shots of my life. When I went into the Olympics in 2008, I was not very outcome driven. I was so immersed in the process of executing my skill to the best of my ability that all I cared for was to do my best best on every single shot. And I was able to achieve that in those ten shots under the greatest amount of pressure that I felt and encountered ever in my life and that itself was the greatest victory for me. I would say that a person at his level, a personal shooting range is not a luxury but a requirement. He has to train at odd hours. And that keeps him totally focused on the spot and we were very happy that we provided him this facility so that he is only a few yards away from his home and could shoot without being disturbed and without having to go out and travel to shooting ranges,” he said about the historic final.

At the age of 15, in 1998, he became the youngest participant at the Commonwealth Games. But he had -2 power in both eyes when he took up shooting and later it went up to -4. “Abhinav is a person who remained completely honest, committed and dedicated to his goals, so, whenever he faced any form of injuries or health challenges he faced them head on through world class rehabilitation and continuous bio-mechanical corrections throughout his career,” said Digpal Ranawat, his personal physiotherapist.

“Victory also comes with a certain crisis and that was the crisis I had. For 15 years I had woken up every single day with a goal in mind and that was to win a gold medal at the Olympics games. And one fine day in 2008, in August I had this gold medal in my pocket and I didn’t know what to do after that. That medal created a huge void in my life,” he explained.

The 35 year old, still India’s only individual Olympic gold medalist, added, “With every experience in life comes a learning. And my learning is to try and make the best of life and to try and be the best that you can be every single day. Perhaps nothing in my life can match the great thrill that I had after winning the gold medal at the Olympics Games. I don’t even want to compare other life experiences with that.”

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