New Delhi: Abhinav Bindra belongs to a rare breed and his rarity had stood out long before his gold-medal winning performance in Beijing. The Chandigarh lad has an unique way of concentrating on the eve of a major championship.
He does everything, except giving shooting a thought!
A day after the opening ceremony when the entire nation was looking up to its shooters to deliver that elusive gold Bindra seemed cut off from the rest.
Writing on his blog from Beijing, Bindra said: Today (Friday) is my day off and so I am going to spend some time soaking in the Village and actually getting my mind to do something it has never done before. Not think about shooting!
So instead of thinking about shooting perfect bulls eyes... today I am going to think of the pretty women in the village, the weather, the great city of Beijing and whatever else pops into my mind will be allowed to stay as long it doesnt involve the words rifle, shooting in it....
Since his childhood days, Bindra has an uncanny knack of springing surprises. And it was no different on Monday.
There were murmurs that he did not have it in him to be a champion, others whispered he was too relaxed to be a champion. But, what most failed to notice was the mindset of a champion that exists in him.
For those who have followed the career path of Bindra, his reaction — not a trace of emotion — to the Olympic gold did not come as a surprise. The silent killer has always been like that.
Bindra had maintained a low profile all through his 10-year career in international shooting but his rise to fame has been meteoric. Born in an affluent family and having the luxury of an indoor range at his backyard, he has displayed nerves of steel and a dogged determination over the years to attain the highest sporting glory. By the age of 25, Bindra won almost everything.
To his credit, he makes no compromises on choosing his coach. He firmly believes that can make a huge difference.
Foreign coaches come with a huge price tag, and the coach Abhinav has demands an even bigger purse. Gabriele Buhlmann, one of the best shooting coaches — the best, perhaps — charges a huge sum, even by European standards.
How right Bindra was!
The Bindra Graph
• Was the youngest participant at the 1998 Commonwealth Games
• Arjuna Awardee, 2000
• Bronze medal winner, Junior World Cup, Munich 2001
• Won six gold medals in a row, four silvers and two bronze in the European Circuit in the year 2001
• Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee in 2001 (India’s highest sporting honour)
• Gold medal winner, Commonwealth Games, Manchester, 2002
• Gold medal in World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, 2006
• Has represented India in World Cups at Milan, Atlanta, Munich, Sydney and Barcelona
• Was India’s youngest athlete in the Sydney 2000 games
• Finished joint 11th in Sydney Olympics
• Broke Olympic record in 2004 Athens Olympics in the qualifying round but later failed to reach the top three. Was placed in seventh position