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Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra of India with silver medallist Zhu Qinan of China and bronze medallist Henri Hakkinen of Finland

Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra of India with silver medallist Zhu Qinan of China and bronze medallist Henri Hakkinen of Finland

Beijing, Aug 11: Even the ever-calm Abhinav Bindra couldn’t control his emotions at the press conference following his gold winning exploits at Beijing. “I can’t describe how happy I am,” he said. Bindra pipped the likes of reigning Olympic champion Qinan Zhu to grab the gold medal in the 10m air rifle event to win first ever individual gold medal for India.

“It’s the thrill of my life. That’s about it. It’s hard to describe. I just went for it. I knew I was lying in fourth. Thankfully it went my way and I just went for it.”

Bindra, who faced criticism for failing to deliver on the great promise he showed as a child, said he was not thinking about making history in India with a first individual gold medal. In fact, he said, he was “not thinking about anything”.

“I was just trying to concentrate on shooting,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking of making history. I was two points behind the leaders. I was just trying to shoot good shots. I wanted to shoot well and shoot aggressively. And that’s what I did.”

His 10.8 of a possible 10.9 on his final shot sparked loud celebrations from group of fans from India.

‘It couldn’t have got better’

Randhir Singh, Indian Olympic Association secretary-general and a former shooter himself, was present at the range. He admitted being stricken by nerves as the competition reached its climax.

“I haven’t prayed so much in my life. With the second last shot they tied together and then he (Bindra) shot a 10.8. It couldn’t have got better,” he told Indian television.

National Shooting coach Sunny Thomas said, “We are really proud of his achievement.”

He also reinforced his confidence in the boys adding, “This is just the beginning.”

On his gold winning pupil he said that Bindra was a very calm and composed person and his focus also rubbed on the other players in the Indian contingent. His views were echoed by Abhinav’s father who also added that God had rewarded his son’s efforts from the past 12 years.

President Patil congratulates Abhinav Bindra

President Pratibha Patil Monday congratulated Abhinav Bindra who made history when he won a gold medal for the 10-metre air rifle event at the Beijing Olympics – India’s first individual gold medal in the Olympics.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sports Minister MS Gill also sent their messages. Gill lauded Bindra’s achievement, calling him pride of the nation.

“Finally, we got an individual gold last time we saw gold was when the Indian hockey team won it in 1980. Youth in the country got a new icon in him and hope they are drawn more into Olympic sports”. Kalmadi said. “Cricket rules the roost in India but now the youngsters have a role model who plays some other sport. It augurs well for us,” he said.

“It was a proud moment for all of us here and back home. To see the Indian flag being raised and the national anthem being played made us feel proud of our country.

It’s an unforgettable moment,” he added.

This is a step forward and I hope we would have more athletes who would emulate Bindra,” Kalmadi added.

Windfall awaits Bindra

The BCCI also extended their congratulations to him while announcing a cash award of Rs. 2.5 million to the Beijing Olympic gold medallist.

“Hearty congratulations to Abhinav Bindra for winning India’s first-ever individual gold medal at the Olympics. He has done the country proud. His achievement heralds a new era for Indian sport,” BCCI President Sharad Pawar said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a further windfall awaits Bindra on his homecoming. The Punjab government has pledged a sum of Rs 1 cr for Bindra, while the Chattisgarh and the Maharashtra government have set aside a sum of Rs 1 lakh and 10 lakhs respectively. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav will present Bindra with a railway golden pass.

The Bihar government has also declared a prize of Rs 11 lakhs for Bindra.

  1. Interesting Olympic Facts
  2. A History of the Olympics
  3. Abhinav Bindra wins India’s first ever solo Olympic gold

Source: http://www.zeenews.com/articles.asp?aid=461581&sid=ARC

Source: http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/gallery


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