Bindra joins big sporting names from small city Chandigarh

August 13th, 2008 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
By Jaideep Sarin and Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, Aug 13 (IANS) Small city with some of India’s biggest sporting names. Add that to the many sobriquets of Chandigarh - planned city, garden city, city with the best quality of life. As India’s first-ever Olympics gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, became the latest sports star to do the city proud, praise poured in from the other sporting greats.

The win in the 10-metre air rifle shooting event put the shy man who turns 25 next month up there among the sporting greats of the city - including legendary cricketer Kapil Dev and golfing genius Jeev Milkha Singh.

Kapil Dev was among the first to laud Bindra.

“It is so special to see someone from Chandigarh achieve a feat like this which no Indian has done before. His achievement is much bigger than any other sporting achievement in this country, including our team effort in winning the 1983 cricket World Cup,” said Kapil Dev, who lived and trained in this 114-square km city before becoming India’s greatest cricket all-rounder and team captain.

Chandigarh resident and son of ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh, is not only the best-known Indian golfer but also the only one to break into the ranks of the world’s top-50 golfers in 2006.

Chandigarh boy Yuvraj Singh, India’s one-day team vice captain, is another local prodigy. Other national and international stars from here include Irina Brar and Parineeta Grewal (women’s golf) and Sandeep Singh and Rajpal Singh (hockey).

“It was my dream to see some Indian winning an individual Olympics gold as I had missed it narrowly in the 1960s. Now our government should pay special heed so that we can produce many more Abhinav Bindras in future,” said legendary athlete, Olympian and Chandigarh resident Milkha Singh.

“I am writing a letter to the prime minister to felicitate Abhinav with the Bharat Ratna award. If they can give it to politicians, artists and film stars then why not to this extraordinary sportsman?”

“The only key factor behind Abhinav’s success is that he had a dream in his mind and luckily got full support from his father in realising his dream. One thing is quite encouraging for the budding players that Abhinav did it entirely on his own without any help from the government or anyone,” Jesse Grewal, a golf coach based in Chandigarh, told IANS.

Most of the big sporting names from the city excelled at the international level on their own steam. Though the city has good sporting facilities, especially in cricket, tennis, golf, hockey, football, water sports and horse riding, these are not essentially world-class and have not actually helped the budding sports champions.

“Abhinav’s father A.S. Bindra put in his time, money and everything that he could do and today the glorious outcome is before everyone. Money did play an important part but that was not all. His determination to succeed was more important,” said Grewal.

“Abhinav Bindra’s determination shows on his face - he is very cool and composed. I was expecting an Olympics medal from him since he debuted at Sydney Olympics in 2000 and this time also I had many hopes from him,” Dronacharya award winner and Kapil Dev’s cricket coach D.P. Azad said here Tuesday.

“I had the same joyous feeling as I had during India’s sole world cup victory in 1983. It is a matter of great pride for the whole country and especially for the Chandigarh people that a young boy from this region has won the first Olympics individual gold,” Azad added.

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