Named as the youngest Indian participant in the 1998 Commonwealth Games as well as in the 2000 Olympics, Abhinav Bindra has made India proud for more than a decade now. The Punjab rifleman has showcased his class as well as his quality by bagging prestigious national awards such as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Arjuna award. His uncompromised sportsmanship is revealed by his recent statement after winning the 10m air rifle gold in National Shooting Championship with a score of 208.9. He was quoted saying “I have to work harder… I have to put in a lot of effort”.
Born in a Punjabi Sikh family, Bindra had the privilege of having an indoor shooting range installed in his home at Patiala, Punjab. Apart from having sponsorship tie- ups with BSNL, Sahara group and Samsung, Bindra is the CEO of Abhinav Futuristics which as a matter of fact is the sole distributor of Walther arms in India. His aim and determination to grow steadily as a shooter was stable even after he lost in the year 2000 Olympics. He did not qualify even for the finals but he was still confident that he is not planning retirement anytime soon. The rest is history. In the later year 2001 itself, Bindra won six gold medals at different international meets. He suffered from severe back injury which held him back for almost a year but he came back in form by scoring 699.1 and thus winning the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championship. Being India’s first Olympic gold medallist, Bindra is an inspiration for all the young Indians. He also serves as an inspiration to those who think that cricket is the only sport that Indians should excel at. He has so many firsts to his name that it is hard to mention; forget remembering. Apart from being the first Indian Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav is also the first Indian to win the world championship gold at Zagreb thus proving himself as one the greatest Indian sporting legend ever. His journey towards being a winner in the Olympics and his other breakthroughs have been explained step by step in his is autobiography “A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold” and has also been critically acclaimed in which Bindra is himself the co- author. This ace shooter is ready to suffer and struggle in order to be the best in this challenging world. As a result of winning the 2008 Olympics gold medal, Abhinav Bindra was honoured with US$230,000, $5 million by the central government, US$38,000 each by the Board of Cricket Control of India as well as by the state government of Haryana, in addition to a number of other state governments and industrial houses honouring him with more of cash prizes. Even today despite being one of the best in the field, he feels that younger people have more advantage in decimal shooting as it is a different game and he feels that he is confined to his old way of thinking. This proves that he is ready to take a detour whenever and wherever required to remain at the top no matter what the circumstances are.
When it comes to stand as an ideal for the youth, Abhinav Bindra most certainly stands tall matching the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Vishwanath Anand. His determination to reach new heights with every passing day will make India prouder and prouder in the coming years. The youth should understand that if Indians can be good at cricket, tennis, badminton, hockey; they can also be great at other off- beat sports such as Abhinav Bindra who proved that an Indian can be the best shooter on an international level. Parents should understand the fact that even if their kid aces at something that is out of the mainstream, he or should be allowed to excel at that particular talent. If Indians become aware of this little fact, our country will be filled with pride with a number of other such athletes. Wake up Indians; it’s high time.