Abhinav Bindra

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A profile

From the archives of "The Times of India" : 2008

Abhinav Bindra hit the bull’s eye in the 10m air-rifle to become the first Indian ever to win an individual gold in the Olympic Games

Date of Birth: 28.9.1982, Event: Air Rifle 10m

-Youngest Indian participant at the 2000 Olympic Games.

-Won six gold medals at various international meets in 2001.

-At the 2004 Olympic Games, he broke the Olympic record but failed to win a medal.

-Arjuna awardee in 2001 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for the year 2001-2002.

-First coach: Lt Col J S Dhillon.

-Holds an MBA. He is the CEO of Abhinav Futuristics, a PC games peripherals distributor based in Chandigarh.

-Studied at the Doon School, Dehradun till 10th standard and then left for St Stephen’s school, Chandigarh to pursue shooting.


-Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 - Gold

-ISSF World Shooting Championships, Zagreb 2006 - Gold

-Commonwealth Games, Manchester 2002 - Silver, Gold (in pairs event)

-Commonwealth Games, Melbourne 2006 - Bronze, Gold (in pairs event)

-Asian Shooting Championship in 2007 - gold (team)

-Asian Airgun Championship at Nanjing, 2008 - silver


Abhinav Bindra has been competing on the shooting circuit for more than 10 years now. The champion takes stock of the hits and the misses

1995-96: In his first year of shooting, he became the district champion and went on to win six gold in the Punjab State Shooting meet. it was an important stepping stone.

1997-98: Shooting 594 at the National trials and beating the favourites Army team. It was a big moment for him to represent India at the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He also attended the national camp at Bangalore.

1999: Became the national champion and established a new record of 594. In India it was a big deal that time to get a score in excess of 590. He also won a gold and silver at SAF Games at Kathmandu.

2000: At the Munich World Cup, he scored 596 to break the world record. Till then nobody had heard about rifle shooters from India.

2001: Won the Arjuna Award, established a word record in Luxembourg and won the gold medal. It won him the Khel Ratna.

2002: Won medal in CWG, Manchester. The fifth place finish at the World Cup in Atlanta was very satisfying.

2003: One of the first times I scored best . The perfect 600 in Colorado. He shot an impressive 704 and won the gold in the Sportland NRW Cup at Dortmund. Won the bronze in Munich to become the first Indian to obtain a quota place for Athens 2004.

2004: In Colorado he shot 600/600 again after doing the same in 2003.

2005: Championship he won the National and missing the previous Nationals due to Olympics.

2006: Commonwealth got him a lot of joy.

2007: After he returned missing to the almost circuit a year due to back injury, finished ninth in Milan World Cup and came eighth in the World Cup Finals held in Bangkok.

Awards and honours

2018: 1st Indian to get Blue Cross for a great career

Hindol Basu, Bindra 1st Indian to get Blue Cross, December 1, 2018: The Times of India

India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav Bindra, was awarded the coveted Blue Cross — shooting’s highest honour — by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).

The 36-year-old became the first Indian to get the coveted honour, conferred for outstanding contribution to the sport of shooting.

After getting the award, Bindra tweeted: “Extremely humbled to receive the @ISSF_Shooting’s highest honour the Blue Cross at the General Assembly in Munich.” Talking to TOI, Bindra said, “I am deeply humbled to receive the ISSF’s highest honour, the Blue Cross. It has been a great honour and privilege to work for the athletes and the ISSF.”

Besides winning gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bindra has 7 Commonwealth Games medals, including 4 golds, 3 Asian Games medals, and a World Championship gold that he won in 2006.

He got the Arjuna award in 2000, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2009.

Bindra, whose favourite event was the 10m air rifle, narrowly missed out on a second Olympic medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, after which he retired from the sport. These days, he runs the Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Centre, one of India’s most high-tech high performance and rehab units, in Mohali and Delhi. It assists elite athletes to improve their performance and helps them recover from different kinds of injuries.



India’s first individual Olympic gold

Abhinav Bindra flaunts his Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Olympics on August 11, 2008
From: Dhananjay Roy, August 11, 2018: The Times of India

August 12, 2008 From the archives of “The Times of India”


Golden Eye, or The Man With The Golden Gun. 26-year-old Abhinav Bindra of Chandigarh hit bullseye in Beijing, giving us our first-ever individual Olympic gold. Boom Boom Bindra’s fired up a nation’s imagination and given Indian sport a desperately needed shot in the arm

The final shot from Abhinav Bindra’s rifle may not have been heard outside the packed hall in the Beijing Shooting Range Complex. But its bang was loud enough to lift the spirits of a billion-plus Indians back home. No individual gold has mattered so much to so many people in the history of Olympics.

It was a medal for Abhinav; it was redemption for India. Never again will anyone be able to point a smug, sardonic finger and say: ‘‘No Indian is good enough to win an individual Olympic gold.’’

Hockey’s eight gold medals notwithstanding, the last coming 28 years ago, this is the first time that an Indian has won an individual gold since modern Olympics started in 1896. There is no greater joy than listening to the sound of the national anthem on the world’s biggest stage.

The joy was also spurred by the improbable nature of the triumph. The script of the men’s 10m air rifle final might have been penned by Alfred Hitchcock himself. Bindra, who qualified for the final with the fourth-best score of 596, looked calm and assured when the call for the first shot came. The first shot — 10.7. He started with a bang and that set the tone for the 10-shot final. He followed it up with a 10.3. After the third shot, a 10.4, he had moved from No. 3 to No. 2. Then, Bindra slowly ate into the lead of Finland’s Henri Hakkinen and went ahead after the 7th shot with 10.6.

This is the fifth individual Olympic medal for India. Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav won the first, a bronze in wrestling at the Helsinki Games in 1952. After a long gap, Leander Paes won the tennis bronze in Atlanta Games in 1996.

Then, Karnam Malleswari won a weightlifting bronze in 2000 in Sydney and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore raised the bar, winning a silver in Athens in 2004.

A comeback


Aritra Mukhopadhyay | TNN


Even as a kid, Abhinav Bindra’s buddies say, he was different. The boy was reticent, but not unfriendly. No one could quite put a finger on him. He seemed to have a secret core that nobody could reach out to. And as the bespectacled boy (with minus 4 power in both eyes) took to the shooting range, there was a steely determination that even his closest friends couldn’t fathom.

This last attribute was perhaps what pulled Abhinav back from the brink. Since 2006, he had been down and out for months with a career-threatening spinal injury caused due to ligament overstretching in the lumbodorsal region.

All those months, Abhinav could barely pick up his 5kg rifle, let alone shoot with it. ‘‘Less than perfect shooting technique, lack of trained doctors and micronutrient deficiency can result in some of the common shooting sports injuries,’’ says Dr Amit Bhattacharjee, who accompanied Bindra to Zagreb and Beijing.

So bad was the injury that many were writing him off after he dropped out of the Doha Asian Games in December 2006. But Abhinav wasn’t one to give up. He was diligent in his physiotherapy. He took up a thorough rehabilitation programme that helped reduce the strain on his spine and made some technical changes for a better posture.

So, while the world had lost its focus on Abhinav, the shooter himself was completely focused on his recovery. And training. First at his private airconditioned shooting range, and then, in Germany under coach Gaby. The champion was quietly waiting for his moment — with patience and determination.

Rewards by state governments

August 13, 2008



Bindra won despite the system

State after state government announced rewards for Abhinav Bindra — states that have had no role in the shooter’s success, like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Bihar. It’s as if there was a mad race to catch some of the Golden Boy’s reflected glory.

The fact is that not just state governments, but the entire government system has had hardly any role in Abhinav’s win. He won because he was lucky to have a rich and generous father — in other words, had access to a private support structure like other successful Indian sportsmen, who have triumphed not because of the system, but despite it.

Check out the list of 19 award winners of our highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and it immediately strikes you how little most of these stars owe to the system and how much to individual or private initiative. The first two award winners were Viswanathan Anand for chess and Geet Sethi for billiards. Later, Pankaj Advani got the award for billiards and snooker. None of them owed anything to the government for becoming world champions.

Then there are cricketers — Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Again, GOI has nothing to do with their achievements. The same can be said of Leander Paes, who has often played his heart out for the country, without the country’s government doing much in return. It’s thanks to his own hard work, the support of his father, former Olympian Vece Paes, and the Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy in Chennai that Leander got this far.

Shooting stars Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Abhinav Bindra would be hard pressed to tell you how, if at all, the state has helped them. In both cases, it was the support of families that saw the young talents being nurtured into world-class shooters.

Anjali Bhagwat and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, two other shooters in the list, do not quite have as affluent backgrounds. So it might seem the state must have supported them in some way. This is true to an extent. The support for Rathore came from the army. Bhagwat too got state support once she had hit the headlines, as did the other shooters.

State support comes too late for achievers

Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal-winning feat witnessed an outpouring of cash rewards from various state governments, none of which were involved in his development as a shooter.

The point, however, is that state support rarely develops champions, it only comes at a stage when people have already proved themselves.

Like RVS Rathore, yachters Cdr Homi Motivala and Lt Cdr P K Garg can thank the navy for supporting their quest for glory, but once again it needs to be underlined that what is needed is state support when athletes are in their formative years.

Former All England champion Pullela Gopichand, the badminton star, is a product of the BPL Prakash Academy run by another former All England winner Prakash Padukone and if you talk to either of them about what the system has done to support badminton in India, be prepared to get a heated, passionate denouncement.

That leaves three athletes Anju Bobby George, K M Beenamol and Jyotirmoyee Sikdar apart from two weightlifters, Karnam Malleswari and Kunjarani Devi, and hockey ace Dhanraj Pillay.

Of these, Anju got to the top of the world charts in long jump not because of tremendous support from the athletics establishment, but because her husband chucked up his career to become her full-time coach and then ensured she went through a stint of training with former world record holder Mike Powell of the US.

Dhanraj Pillay might seem like an obvious case of someone who has risen to the top of the world in his chosen discipline because the establishment stood by him, but the chances are that if you could get him to talk on the system and what it has done for him, most of it would be unprintable.

So we are down then to two weightlifters and two athletes (neither of them world class) who can reasonably be chalked down as products of the system.

That is, of course, if we are prepared to ignore the shortage of even basic facilities that each of them had to contend with when they first decided they wanted to do something other than cook for their husbands-to-be and the children that would inevitably follow.

The list of 19 Khel Ratnas, thus, reads like a scroll of honour of Indians who had to beat India before they could go on to beat the world. Surely we can make things simpler for potential champions of the future and get the system working for them rather than against them.

The spectacle of state governments falling over one another to announce cash awards for Abhinav Bindra is a depressingly familiar ritual. If they are indeed serious about supporting deserving sportspersons, as they would like us to believe, they can put this money to better use. For instance, if spent on building sports facilities in their own states, the money would achieve much more. If they still want to honour Bindra, these facilities could be dedicated to his victory.


Gold at Asian Air Gun Championship

The Times of India

Sep 28 2015


Bindra shoots gold as India finish on top

Satyajeet claims title in Youth category

It is rare to see AbhinavBindra pumping his fist in air after winning a medal. The Beijing Olympics gold medallist did just that after shooting his last shot in the final of men's 10m air rifle on Sunday. The shot, a 10.4, confirmed his gold in the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship at Dr Karni Singh range.

Bindra shot a superb 208.3 in the final after an equally good score of 627.9 in the qualifying round. The air rifle specialist never looked under pressure throughout the 20-shot final and hit less than 10 only once. His 18th shot was a 9.6, but it didn't matter much as by then he already had a strong lead of 2.3 points over his Kazakhstan rival YuriyYuvkov, who won silver after shooting 206.6. Korea's Yu Jaechul claimed the bronze with 185.3.

The triumph revisited

Dhananjay Roy, Significant change in mindset of shooters: Bindra, August 11, 2018: The Times of India

Ten years to date, Abhinav Bindra achieved something no Indian athlete — before or after him — has managed to accomplish. He became India’s lone individual gold-medallist at the Olympics, winning the men’s 10m air rifle competition at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Given the magnitude of this feat, one would have thought the memory of this triumph would be his constant companion, irrespective of the passage of time. But, in true Bindra style, the 35-yearold asserts that he only thinks about the Beijing gold occasionally. “To be honest, I don’t dwell on that achievement frequently. Yes, people keep talking about it, but personally, I only think about it sometimes,” he told TOI during an interaction on Friday.

“Yesterday never counts, you see. To progress, you have to keep looking forward. Having said that, I admit it was the achievement of a lifetime, something I am really proud of. In the years gone by, I have hoped that the gold medal has inspired youngsters who have taken to sport, be it any discipline,” added the icon, who will be releasing a video produced by JetSynthesys to celebrate the shooter’s successful journey, as well as to inspire Indian athletes who will be competing at the Asian Games in a week’s time, and at the Tokyo Olympics two years from now.

In shooting, Bindra’s gold was preceded by Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore’s silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics and followed by Vijay Kumar’s silver and Gagan Narang’s bronze at the London Games in 2012. So, what does Bindra make of the discipline’s progress in the country over the past decade? “I am happy that we have made a lot of progress in shooting in the years gone by. We always had the potential, but importantly, there’s a significant change in the mindset of the shooters. They believe they can challenge the best in the world and have the results to back them.”

India will be pinning their hopes on the likes of teenagers Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala, apart from a host of experienced pros to deliver medals in Palembang which will be hosting the shooting events at the Asiad, and Bindra is impressed with their talent.

“Medals, especially in shooting, where margins that separate winners from the rest are extremely narrow, can’t be the only barometer to gauge success. So, it’s difficult to predict how many gold medals we will win. But, having followed the performance of some of the upcoming shooters, I can say that they have it in them to deliver the top prizes. They are motivated and hopefully it will show in the results.”

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