Bindra: We can win at least 15 medals in the Olympics - Once I won the gold, a sort of emptiness took over, says ace shooter on arrival

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Delhi
  • Published 15.08.08
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New Delhi: A day before the Independence Day, the national capital was swept by Abhinav Bindra fever.

Bindra, India’s first individual gold medalist in Olympic history, arrived here in the wee hours on Thursday and since then he was relentlessly followed by the media and the fans all over the city.

So much so, the ace rifle shooter, who hit the bull’s eye in 10-metre air rifle competition in Beijing, did not get enough time to have his breakfast.

Later, Bindra admitted that he had not slept properly from the time he won the gold medal.

The tumultuous welcome that Bindra received at the airport at 1.30 am went on the expected lines. But what baffled the fans was his nonchalant approach towards everything that was happening around him.

As his entourage emerged through the special gate, the champion was engulfed by a sea of journalists.

For a moment, he looked bored and just murmured a few words to all the questions that were thrown at him.

Surprisingly, a few hours later, when he appeared for his first official media interaction, Bindra looked a changed man.

He handled a volley of questions with great precision and even explained the reason behind his apparent lack of emotion after he won the gold.

“Believe me, I was not trying to show my lack of emotion,” he said. “Once I won the gold, a sort of emptiness took over my feelings. I felt like climbing a mountain and nothing more to achieve.”

In the morning, Bindra met both the President Pratibha Patil and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“They were very happy and congratulated me,” the shooter said crisply.

Asked whether his rifle was tampered with before the event in Beijing , Bindra said: “I had some trouble before the start of the event. Now that it is over, I don’t want to talk on this subject anymore.”

One thing Bindra made very clear that he didn’t really enjoy being the lone gold medal winner for India. “It was my day, so I won the medal. In our team, all others are highly talented shooters and capable of winning any day. It was sheer luck they did not win in Beijing.

“I am confident that Indians are capable of winning at least 15 medals in the Olympics.”

Asked what his plans are for the future, Bindra said he was yet to give a thought to it. “At the moment, I need to take a break. Then I will see how to motivate myself again.”

The only time Bindra was overtaken by his emotion when someone asked him how he overcame his injury to make such a tremendous comeback.

“It took lots of courage to stand up again,” the world champion said.

“It was bigger than the medal. Winning and losing is part of shooting.

“But what mattered most was that I really needed to stand up. I succeeded in doing so,” said Bindra with his gaze fixed on the wall.