Bharat Ek Soch: India@75 | Abhinav Bindra, First Individual Olympic Gold | 30 July, 2022

Sansad TV

Abhinav Bindra will forever hold a place in sporting history as India’s first individual gold medallist at the Olympics. The gold medal in the men’s 10m air rifle at Beijing 2008 was the crowning glory in Abhinav Bindra’s stellar sporting career, which includes a World Championship gold and multiple medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Born on 28 September 1982 in Dehradun, the future Olympic champion began his sporting journey after taking inspiration from the shooters he saw on television. Success soon came his way. The Indian shooter went to the 1998 Commonwealth Games as a 15-year-old and then travelled to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as the youngest Indian participant. It was a breakthrough year as he won six gold medals at various events and won bronze at the World Cup, setting a then-junior record score. He then won gold in the 10m air rifle pairs and silver in the singles at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Abhinav Bindra set a new Olympic record in the 10m air rifle event during the qualification round at the Athens 2004 Olympics, but could not find his best form in the finals and finished outside of the podium places. After an enforced layoff with a back injury, Bindra returned with a bang in 2006, winning gold at the ISSF World Championships. But his finest moment was still yet to come. In a gripping finale to the men’s 10m air rifle finals at the Beijing Games, Bindra was tied with Finland’s Henri Hakkinen at the top of the standings with one shot remaining. Bindra held his nerve, scoring 10.8 with his last attempt – his highest score of the finals – to see off the challenge of Hakkinen and secure victory. “I ended up shooting the best 10 shots in my life,” he would recall. “The way I responded, the timing, the technique… they were the 10 best shots of my life.” He was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour, as recognition for his efforts in 2009. Expectations were naturally high as he aimed to defend his Olympic crown at London 2012, but Bindra could not advance from the qualification round. Instead the proud Indian could take solace in seeing Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal’s bring home Olympic medals. The 2014 Commonwealth Games yielded him yet another gold before his Olympic swansong at Rio 2016.The Indian flagbearer for the Rio Games, Bindra – perhaps surprisingly – cites his farewell in Brazil as his most cherished Olympic memory. Bindra missed a podium spot by a tenth of a point after losing a shoot-off for the top three, but has said that Rio 2016 was the Olympics in which he was most satisfied with his performance.After hanging up his rifle for good, Bindra turned his attention to the field of business as he obtained a BBA degree from the University of Colorado and was awarded two honorary doctorate degrees in literature and philosophy by the SRM and Kaziranga Universities.He started a non-profit organization called the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, an initiative whose aim was to make athletes stronger and more aware using sports science and technology. Apart from this, the ex-shooter has also given back to the sport in other ways. He was part of the International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) and International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Athlete Commissions where he has brought the participants’ issues to the fore and helped them in their development. He has even released his autobiography titled ‘A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold’ detailing his training methods and constant drive which eventually landed him where no Indian had gone before. A Bollywood biopic is also currently in the works which will showcase the career of the ace shooter in great detail with actor Harshvardhan Kapoor set to enact Abhinav Bindra on the silver screen.

Producer : Deeksha Kohli
Camera & Lighting: Ajendra & Dwijendra
Camera & Light Assistant : Pradeep
Video Editor (gfx & sfx): Prashant Singh
Guest Coordination : Deepti

Footage courtesy-to Indian Olympics Association

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