The 37-year-old legend is currently helping many sportspersons through his foundation.
Abhinav Bindra commands a special place in India’s sporting history. From a young age, it was clear that he was a prodigious talent capable of reaching extraordinary feats and he ended up doing just that. At 15, he was the youngest participant at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and was the youngest Indian athlete at the 2000 Sydney Olympics two years later.
Hence, Abhinav Bindra was no stranger to breaking records and rewriting the history books. However, his biggest act was yet to follow. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he was locked in a nerve-racking contest with Finland’s Henri Hakkinen in the men’s 10m air rifle finals. With the hopes of a billion people lying firmly on his shoulders, he kept his nerve to score 10.8 on his final attempt to clinch victory, winning his first Olympic gold and more importantly the country’s first individual gold medal.
He had not only realized his dreams but also the dreams of countless other people back home. However, achieving success of such seismic magnitude so soon in his career left the shooter in an enigma as he had suddenly lost the main source of his motivation.
“Failure is difficult to handle but sometimes, success is tougher to deal with. It felt like there was a void in my life, it was challenging because I felt like I had to restart and I did feel a lack of motivation,” Abinav Bindra confessed during the Tata Group’s Leader Craft podcast.
After realizing his life-long dream, Abhinav Bindra revealed that initially, he encountered a few difficulties getting back to his routine and added that he required some time to rejuvenate before immersing himself back into the game.
He remarked, “You start missing the process after a while, and as long as you love what you do, it will keep pushing you. That’s what happened to me. When you achieve a dream, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years so to bounce back, you have to give yourself time and recharge your batteries to come back on course.”
The retired-shooting maestro believes that the athletes these days are mentally tough and will face their latest challenge of the Tokyo Olympics postponement with aplomb. “I believe athletes — not only in India but on the whole — are the most resilient people I know and they will take this scenario, this challenge in a sporting way and rejig their plans,” he concluded.
Abhinav has also been honored with the Arjuna Award and the Padma Bhushan Award and will always remain a distinguished figure in Indian sporting folklore as he continues to help sportspersons around the country in realizing their potential through his Abhinav Bindra Foundation.