The former athlete has been a sensational servant to the country on the international stage.
Abhinav Bindra comes across as a shy, modest person but the competitive fire in his belly is immense. The retired athlete brought a lot of joy to a country of over a billion people, when he achieved India’s first-ever individual Olympic gold medal in 2008.
That achievement not only brought India acclaim on the international stage, but inspired scores of budding athletes who wanted to emulate Bindra. Since then, numerous athletes, especially in shooting, have flown India’s flag high at international meets.
Celebrating Abhinav Bindra’s incredible career, let’s take a look at his top five achievements:
5. Olympic record in 2004
Abhinav Bindra started off in the early part of the 2000s in sensational form. This was especially true during the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he set a new Olympic record, but still missed out on a medal. His score of 597/600 in the qualification round was a new record, but the competition was fierce.
He had a setback in the finals of the 10m air rifle event. He could not build on the performance in the qualification rounds. After scoring 97.6, he finished in seventh position. A promising performance came to an unfruitful end.
4. Four golds in Commonwealth Games
He earned accolades at almost every international meet he participated in. The Indian shooter was unstoppable in particularly the Commonwealth Games. He won a gold medal in the 10m air rifle pairs event at the 2002 Manchester, 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Bindra then went on to win gold at the 2014 Glasgow games as well. On top of the four golds, he also won a silver in the 10m air rifle event at the 2002 Manchester and 2010 Delhi games as well. He won a bronze medal as well, in the 10m air rifle event (singles) at the 2006 Melbourne games.
3. National Awards
Similar to the rest of the sporting icons of the country, Abhinav Bindra too has been conferred with several civilian and sporting honours. The Government of India bestowed upon him the Arjuna Award in 2000 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2002 for his services to the country.
In addition to the sporting honours, he also received the Padma Bhushan in 2009. As recently as 2018, he was conferred the Blue Cross, the highest shooting honour by the International Shooting Sport Federation.
2. World Championships Gold in 2006
Before setting the stage alight in China, He had shown a glimpse of his talent at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships held in Zagreb, Croatia. Abhinav Bindra had battled a severe back injury that hindered his preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
However, with an outstanding performance, he secured the gold medal at the World Championships. By doing so, he also qualified for the Olympics. Following his win at the Beijing Games, Bindra became the first-ever shooter to be the concurrent winner in the 10m air rifle event by winning both Olympic and World Championships gold.
1. Olympic gold in 2008
Abhinav Bindra created history during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He secured a sensational gold medal in the 10m air rifle event, becoming the first-ever Indian athlete to win an individual gold medal. To this day, he still remains the only one to have ever secured an individual gold.
He had missed out on winning the gold medal narrowly at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 games, but finally managed to achieve the unthinkable at the age of 25.