Bindra hopes gold medal will boost Olympic sports in India

August 11th, 2008 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
Bindra hopes gold medal will boost Olympic sports in India
By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 11 (IANS) After shooting India to glory, Abhinav Bindra Monday hoped that the first individual Olympic gold medal of the country will inspire other sportspersons to achieve more laurels in international events. “For me life will go on. I sincerely hope that it changes how Olympic sports is viewed in India. Right now Olympic sports don’t seem to be priority and I hope it will change now. As for shooting, I am sure it will grow stronger from here,” said Bindra.

Bindra came up with a near perfect 10.8 in his final shot during the final at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall to give the country its first Olympic gold 28 years after the men’s hockey team emerged champion in the Moscow Olympics, 1980.

Bindra, who qualified for the final as the fourth best with 596 points, who shot the best series of final 10 shots for 104.5 to boost his total to 700.5 on way to a golden finish.

The defending champion Zhu Qinan of China had to be content with the silver, and broke into tears after losing on his home turf. Zhu totalled 699.7 with 597 in qualification and 102.7 in the final. Left clutching the bronze was Finnish armyman Henri Hakkinen, who had led the qualification with a brilliant 598. In the final he came a cropper with 101.4 and it was the last shot of 9.7 that precisely did him in.

Going into the final, two points behind the Finnish armyman, Henri Hakkinen, Bindra said he was focussed on the job at hand. “I wasn’t thinking about history. I was lying two points behind the leader. I just wanted to shoot and I wanted to shoot aggressively and that’s what I did.”

“I just went for it. I knew I was lying fourth before the final. I started my sighting on a very poor note. Thankfully after that it went my way and I kept going. I am lucky that it went my way.”

There was a time after the Athens Olympics when Bindra had such a severe back problem that he had even considered whether to continue with the sport. But the Zagreb World Championship gold medal got him going again.

When asked how tough the loss of 2004 was and how he kept going through the pain and disappointment, Bindra admitted, “For me the last four years have been tough. After Athens it was hard to take the plunge all over again. But I decided to take it. I worked hard and went for it. There’s not much to say except that you keep at it, and at it. One day it falls in your hand. That’s what happened. I have had a lot of support from many people and one of them (coach J S Dhillon) is here.”

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