Abhinav Singh Bindra

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Abhinav Bindra being congratulated as he wins gold for India

Abhinav Bindra is 24 year old Sikh sportsman from Chandigarh, Punjab India. He was born on September 28, 1983 and has represented India internationally in the shooting event for nearly 10 years. At 15, he was the youngest participant at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. He comes from an affluent family and has the luxury of an indoor range in his backyard. His father is Dr. Apjit Singh Bindra and mother is Babli Bindra.

His early education was at Doon school of Dehradun. He is a MBA and runs his own company called Abhinav Futuristics. He has a blog at: http://abhinavbindra.blogspot.com/.

It was on July 13, 1995, when a 13-year-old boy, accompanying his father and a family friend, visited the house of shooting coach Col Jagir Singh Dhillon in Chandigarh.

The family friend was Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi (presently Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab), who hoped that Colonel Dhillon would help make the boy a world champion one day.

Exactly 11 years and 11 days later, Abhinav Bindra made those words come true as he emerged the world champion in the 10 m air rifle event at the ISSF World Shooting Championship at Zagreb (Croatia) on July 24. He also became the first Indian shooter to win the gold medal at a world championship.

Despite a severe back injury, Abhinav did it through sheer grit and passion.

The icing on the cake was that the accomplishment also secured his berth for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Abhinav has become the fifth shooter to qualify for the Olympics after Gagan Narang, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Anjali Vedpathak and Manavjit Sandhu.

At Zagreb, Abhinav put up a magnificent show. In the qualifying round, he shot 100, 99, 100, 100, 99 and 99 for a total of 597/600 to enter the final. He fired 102.7 in the final to total 699.7 points that clinched him the gold medal. Before this, only the legendary Karni Singh and Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had made such an impact at the world championships. Dr Karni Singh won the silver medal in the trap event at Rome in 1962, while Rathore had won the bronze in the double trap event at Cairo in 2003.

Abhinav not only triumphed over his rivals but also over adversity. He has been suffering from a back injury, which he developed during the Commonwealth Games in March this year. Despite that, he came back from Melbourne with two gold, one silver and one bronze medal.

Mrs Mishra said the family would visit Punjab's famous Golden temple to "pay obeisance for his success".

Achievements

The three medal winners at Beijing 2008
  • Bindra shot into the limelight by winning a bronze in the 2001 Munich World Cup with a new junior world record score of 597/600.
  • During a purple patch, Bindra won six gold medals at various international meets in the European Circuit in 2001. He was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for the year 2001.
  • In the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, competing in his pet Air rifle event, Bindra won Gold in the Pairs event and Silver in the individual event.
  • In the 2004 Athens Olympics, despite breaking the Olympic record Bindra failed to win a medal.
  • On July 24, 2006, Bindra became the first Indian shooter to win a World Championship gold in Zagreb. Karni Singh's silver in 1962 was the previous best by an Indian in a World Championship meet.
  • In 2008 won gold in the 10-metre air rifle event at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall.

Accolades

  • Aamir Khan says he got "goose bumps" when he heard the Indian anthem play: Aamir said: “I was absolutely thrilled to see Bindra receiving the gold”. The actor also expressed his appreciation through his blog. “I had goose bumps when India’s National Anthem began playing. What a moment! My congratulations to Bindra for his achievement. He has done India proud and given us all a moment to celebrate,” Aamir posted in his latest entry.
  • Amitabh Bachchan praises and thanks Bindra for the glory brought to their hearts: Amitabh, who is currently in the US as part of his world concert Unforgettable, heard of the news while he was in Chicago after his performance there. “As I stepped out of the venue, media from India informed me about our gold at the Olympics. The rousing reception at the show was incredible, but nothing will be able to top the glory that Abhinav Bindra has brought to the heart of every Indian,” Amitabh posted on his blog www.bigb.bigadda.com. He added: “We are so proud of you and so delighted to have made every Indian walk a little taller. Thank you Abhinav, and more glory and success to you.”
  • Bindra realised dream of a billion people: President: Abhinav Bindra had "realised the dream" of a billion Indians by winning the 10 metre air rifle event at the Beijing Olympics, President Pratibha Patil said on Monday as she congratulated the Chandigarh sportsman who got India its first individual gold medal. "I am extremely delighted and proud to hear today that you have realised the dream of a billion of our people by winning the Olympic gold medal in the 10-metre air rifle event in Beijing," Patil said in a message to Bindra.
  • Sports Minister Gill lauds Bindra's feat:S ports Minister M S Gill on Monday congratulated shooter Abhinav Bindra for creating history by clinching India's first ever Olympic individual gold and said his feat will encourage others to come up with medals in the quadrennial event in future. "Bindra has created history. This medal is really the beginning for India and I am sure in future there will be many more to come," Gill said.
  • PM Manmohan Singh lavishes praise on Bindra : Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has lavished praise on Abhinav Bindra, the country's first individual Olympic gold medallist. Mr Singh said that Bindra's achievement- he claimed the men's 10m air rifle shooting title - was a "golden performance".
  • Umrao Singh congratulates Bindra for winning gold : Umrao Singh, President of Athletics Federation of India on Monday greeted Shooter Abhinav Bindra for bringing laurel for country by winning Gold medal in Beijing Olympics. "Win of Bindra has brought hope of winning more medals in the ensuing Olympic games in Beijing and it is greate victory from one of the youngest sport person of Indian squad in Olympics", Umrao Singh told PTI.

In the news

Abhinav Bindra, a Sikh wins gold for India

Awards, accolades as Bindra bags first individual Olympic gold
Thaindian News August 11th, 2008

Abhinav Bindra hit bull’s eye in Beijing Monday winning top honours in the air rifle event and India’s first individual Olympic gold medal, sending his billion strong nation into celebration mode with the president and prime minister joining in to congratulate him for realising their dreams. The accolades came in thick and fast, and so did the cash rewards for India’s golden boy from Chandigarh who had shot into history.

Keeping his composure in a crunch situation, the 25-year-old rifleman came up with a near perfect 10.8 in his final shot to ensure a top podium finish in the 10-metre air rifle event at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall.

Bindra’s gold came 28 years after India last won it at the 1980 Moscow Olympics when the men’s hockey team came on top of the heap.

Bindra shot the best series of final 10 shots for 104.5 and a total of 700.5 on way to his golden finish.

It was a fairytale ending for someone who a year ago was not sure whether he would ever lift a rifle, let along go to the Olympics.

After the Athens Olympics, the Chandigarh boy was immobilised by a severe back problem and there were doubts whether it was worth the effort to carry on with his passion of shooting despite all the pain.

“For me the last four years have been tough. After Athens it was hard to take the plunge all over again. But I decided to take it. I worked hard and went for it. There’s not much to say except that you keep at it, and at it. One day it falls in your hand. That’s what happened.”

Going into the final, Bindra said matter-of-factly: “I wasn’t thinking about history. I was two points behind the leader. I just wanted to shoot and I wanted to shoot aggressively and that’s what I did.”

And as he did that, people ran into streets in many Indian cities and towns waving the tricolour and distributing sweets to hail India’s first Olympic gold medallist.

Surrounded by friends and fans at their farmhouse near Chandigarh, the twin capital of Punjab and Haryana, proud parents Babli and A.S. Bindra could not hide their joy.

“My son has proved that ‘Singh is King’ in a real sense! He has brought laurels for the whole Sikh community and for the whole nation,” said father A.S. Bindra.

“I had sent him an SMS in the morning, ‘Abhinav you can do it, go for it’, but I am sure he must have not seen it. On hearing the results, I was breathless and started screaming in joy,” his beaming mother Babli told IANS.

The emotive note was echoed by President Pratibha Patil who said in her message: “I am extremely delighted and proud to hear today that you have realised the dream of a billion of our people.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh added of the “spectacular achievement”: “I hope that this feat will inspire you and other sportspersons of our country to achieve the highest levels of excellence in the international arena.”

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, cabinet ministers and opposition leaders were amongst the others who joined the nation in commending Bindra for his achievement.

In Beijing, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief Suresh Kalmadi and Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs M.S. Gill hailed Abhinav as India’s latest sporting icon.

“It’s a great day in the history of Indian sports. Finally, we have won an individual gold… (The) youth in the country have got a new icon in Abhinav Bindra. I hope they will now be drawn more towards Olympic sports,” said Kalmadi.

India’s leading sport icons applauded his feat.

Kapil Dev, who in 1983 led India to its first World Cup victory in cricket - the nation’s most popular game - said: “Bindra has done the country proud. This is far bigger than any other sporting achievement. It is difficult to compare India’s sporting laurels but I think this one has eclipsed all other feats.”

Bindra’s gold haul was followed by announcements of cash rewards from state governments.

Punjab announced a cash reward of Rs.10 million (Rs.1 crore) for the shooter in line with its sports policy. Neighbouring Haryana too announced a reward of Rs.2.5 million (Rs.25 lakh) and the Chandigarh administration announced another cash reward of Rs.500,000 for him. Karnataka will honour him with a cash prize of Rs.1 million and Madhya Pradesh with Rs.500,000.

Bindra’s bank balance can only go up from here, as the sports management firm that handles his affairs estimates he can charge at least Rs.20 million ($500,000) per product endorsement.

“I don’t see any reason why Bindra shouldn’t make at least a couple of crores (tens of millions of rupees) now,” said Latika Khaneja, director of Collage Sports Management, the firm representing the shooting ace.

“He is young, good looking and has a photogenic face. All of these factors count for signing up decent contracts,” said another advertising professional who has been dealing with celebrity endorsements.

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad also chipped in, announcing a lifetime of free travel on Air-Conditioned First Class with a companion.

My son has proved Singh is King: Bindra senior

hindustantimes.com Indo-Asian News Service Chandigarh, August 11, 2008

With their son winning the first gold for India in the Olympics Monday, Babli and AS Bindra could not hide their joy, receiving congratulations from friends and relatives at their farm house near Chandigarh.

"My son has proved that 'Singh is King' in a real sense. He has brought laurels for the whole Sikh community and for the whole nation," said father AS Bindra.

The shooter's beaming mother Babli Bindra added: "I had talked to him briefly yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. He was determined to hit the bulls' eye this time. But still I was very nervous in the morning and was keeping my fingers crossed. Now I am trying his number but he must be busy as he is not picking the phone.

"We have not eaten anything except ladoos since morning as we did not get time to have our breakfast. Ever since the news broke that Abhinav won the first Olympics gold medal for India, all the phones at home have been ringing continuously.

"I had sent him an SMS in the morning, 'Abhinav you can do it, go for it', but I am sure he must have not seen it. On hearing the results, I was breathless and started screaming in joy," a beaming Babli told IANS.

"He will return to India Aug 14 and we are going to receive him at the airport. I am anxiously waiting for that moment when I can hug him and congratulate him," Babli added.

Like Abhinav's last two Olympic outings, the Bindra family also planned to go to Beijing to see his performance, but they decided against it as they could not find rooms in any good hotel there.

"It has proved to be a blessing in disguise that we did not go there. I have also not talked to him for the last five days. Our presence at the venue could have put an unnecessary pressure on him and affect his performance," said his father A.S. Bindra.

"Now I am just waiting for his return and then there will be a series of parties, celebrations, bursting of crackers and everything that I can do on this earth," he said.

The Bindra farmhouse, on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway near Zirakpur town in Punjab around 15 km from Chandigarh, wore a festive look with relatives and family friends pouring in to celebrate the occasion.

Despite the heavy rain, everyone in the farmhouse was busy congratulating one another and in dancing to the tunes of popular numbers.

Sweets, especially ladoos, were being distributed to everyone coming to the house.

Father to gift Five star hotel to Abhinav Bindra

punjabnewsline.com by Gagandeep Ahuja, 11 August 2008

Abhinav BindraBindra Farms (Raipur Kalan) : Delighted parents AS Bindra and her mother Bubbly Bindra of gold medalist Abhinav Bindra will gift five star hotel on Haridwar- Rishikesh road to him when he will come back from Beijing.

Talking to Punjabnewsline.com at his farm house situated in Raipur Kalan village near Chat Bir Zoo in Mohali District AS Bindra said that they both were thankful to 'Waheguru' (Almighty) as their son has achieved the greatest honor for country and felt us proud.

"All credit for this win belongs to Abhinav. I have done nothing. If at all I have done anything, it is only to provide assistance and support. But it was he who took that support and transformed it into this terrific achievement. This is the moment the whole country has been waiting for, and Abhinav has given it to us." said overjoyed AS Bindra.

"I just told him to do his best and he lived up to our expectations. To avoid nay nay pressure i did not talk to him about shooting. Too much expectation can sometimes be counter-productive. I haven't even spoken to him for the last four days. But today he has given me the happiest moment of my life," he says.

Abhinav's father, Dr A.S. Bindra, a leading businessman, has supported him through thick and thin. Bindra is spending several lakhs every year not only on his son's training, but also on his travelling, physiotherapy, shooting equipment, pellets and ammunition, specialised computer software and diet.

Abhinav's mother Babli Bindra has cut a cake to celebrate her son's golden feat. "I have expected him to win on earlier occasions too but today is not the time to remember past failures. It's time to celebrate. I will go to Darbar Sahib, Amritsar to pay obeisance, offer prayers and wish for his well-being.

The Arjuna Award deservedly came his way in 2001. Next year, he helped India in winning the gold medal in the team event in the 10-metre air rifle shooting at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He was also honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

At the Athens Olympics, Abhinav shot 597/600 to break the games record. However, he faltered in the final round and missed out on winning a medal.

In 2005, playing in the European circuit, he won the gold medal in the Denhaag Cup with a record score of 597/600.

According to him, this expenditure on an individual sportsperson may be on the higher side, but it is quite less than the huge amounts being spent on the Indian hockey team.

Let's get technical

In shooting as in archery, there is a bull's eye, which fetches 10 points for perfection. While in archery, 'Xs' -- dead-centre -- break the ties, in shooting the system is a bit more elaborate.

The 10-point ring has within it 10 more rings and the points range from 10.0 to 10.9, the latter being ultimate perfection, which is how shooters have decimals attached to their scores of 100 in the final.

Bindra, who shot a 10.8 in his final shot in the final series of the 10m air rifle event, came closest to perfection with a 10.7 in the first of the 10-shot final. Then he closed the competition with that 10.8.

The 10 metre air rifle is shot over a distance of 10 metres (10.9 yards) from a standing position with a 4.5 mm (0.177 in) calibre air rifle which cannot be heavier than 5.5 kilograms.

The men shooters are required to fire 60 shots in 105 minutes.

Each shot can fetch a maximum of 10 points, the maximum being attained when a shooter finds the 'bull ring'. Scores range from one point for hitting the outside zone, to 10 for a hit in the 10 ring ('bull'). If a shot hits the line between two zones, the higher score is awarded.

From the total field -- there were 51 in Monday's Olympic competition -- the top eight move into the final.

In case of any ties for a place in the final, the berths are decided on a countback. Gagan Narang was tied at 595 with four other shooters, but got eliminated on the countback. The other four shooters had a better series of either 99 or 100 so Narang got left out.

After the qualifying round comes the final for top eight. In the final series, the 10-point ring is sub-divided into 10 score zones, with the highest score for a shot being 10.9.

The top eight shooters follow this with the final 10 shots and the cumulative score of both the rounds determines the winner.

List of Indian medal winners at the Olympic Games

Following is a list of Indian medal winners at the Olympic Games:

Year Venue Discipline Name Medal
1928 Amsterdam Men's hockey Team Gold
1932 Los Angeles Men's hockey Team Gold
1936 Berlin Men's hockey Team Gold
1948 London Men's hockey Team Gold
1952 Helsinki Men's hockey Team Gold
1952 Helsinki Wrestling (Bantamweight freestyle) KD Jadhav Bronze
1956 Melbourne Men's hockey Team Gold
1960 Rome Men's hockey Team Silver
1964 Tokyo Men's hockey Team Gold
1968 Mexico city Men's hockey Team Bronze
1972 Munich Men's hockey Team Bronze
1980 Moscow Men's hockey Team Gold
1996 Atlanta Tennis (men's tennis) Leander Paes Bronze
2000 Sidney Women's weightlifting (69 kg category) Karnam Malleswari Bronze
2004 Athens Shooting (double trap) Rajyavardhan Singh Rahore Silver
2008 Beijing Shooting (Men's 10 m air rifle) Abhinav Bindra Gold

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