A fulfilling journey: Bindra

Ace shooter recollects his Beijing feat a year after reaching the zenith

Golden Man: Abhinav Bindra targets a return to the circuit by the end of the year. DH Photo

Twentyeight years after the hockey team’s trip to the top of the podium in Moscow, Abhinav Bindra hoisted the nation to the pinnacle again on that day, becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the quadrennial extravaganza.

The euphoria that swept the nation following that success has slowly faded but the impact Bindra made at the Beijing shooting range, the temperament he displayed to comeback from fourth position in the qualifying rounds, and the nerve he showed to fire that near-perfect 10.8 final shot will forever inspire the purveyors of sport in this country.

Twelve months after that epochal feat, Bindra is slowly making his way back towards the competition arena. He is not in a position to set a specific date for his return but the mind of the air rifle champion is made up. “I will compete in Europe at the end of the year,” he asserts in this interview, on the occasion of the first anniversary of his golden feat.

Excerpts:
A year on, how do you look back at those wonderful moments?
For fifteen years, I waited for that one moment. It was always a dream and it was wonderful to see it come to reality because I believe I really worked very hard for it. Of course those moments are special but for me the entire journey has been extremely fulfilling!

You’ve had a good break — even though felicitations took up a lot of time — what did you learn during the period?
Well, it (the break) was much needed and I learnt more about the REAL world outside that of the shooting world.  It was a time when I reflected a lot on my past and pondered and introspected about my future and my life ahead.
It was a learning experience and the biggest thing I learnt was that it’s not the outcome that’s important nor the eventual result. It’s the work you put in, it’s the journey that you savour!

What are the plans now? When do you aim to return to competition?
I have not yet decided on that. It depends on a lot of factors, some beyond my control. Let’s see how it pans out. But I will compete in Europe at the end of the year.
I am training well and my only goal is to improve on personal performance and become a better shooter.  I am shooting great scores, but that’s unimportant. My journey or path is to improve!

Are you game for one more Olympics, having experienced all the highs and lows that come with it?
Time will tell. Presently I am very committed to improving on performance and my pursuit towards excellence!

After the Olympics, you said you haven’t yet figured out your sport or the passion you have for it. Has it changed now?
For me, for fifteen years sport was everything. It was the only thing that existed for me in my life. Those circumstances have changed now and I look at sport as only one aspect of life. There are many areas in life which one has to address! 

And I don’t think nobody can ever figure out anyone’s sport fully! It will be too boring then, wouldn’t it?

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