Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra says the thrill – the biggest of his life – lasted merely two seconds after his gold at Beijing Games where relief was the first and only emotion he felt despite scripting history.
A web series titled ‘The Finish Line’ has been conceptualised to relive eight defining moments of Indian sports through the athletes themselves. And Bindra was the first guest to feature on the show hosted by ace squash player Saurav Ghosal.
“It was the greatest emotion that I had felt. I was very happy as this moment was the biggest thrill of my life, that thrill lasted for two seconds and that’s it,” Bindra said on the show, recalling the moment 12 years later.
“The greatest emotion I felt at that moment was the feeling of relief because, throughout my journey, I have been very obsessive with my goal.
“All my eggs were in one basket, certainly not the way I promote to young athletes. It was a huge amount of relief that, what I had set out to do in my life, I was able to achieve that.”
Bindra remains India’s only individual gold medallist at the Olympics and he came tantalisingly close to adding another podium finish at the 2016 Rio Games, only to miss out by a point.
While it is documented, Bindra recalled how he carried on with his shooting after finding out that his gun had been tampered with just before the big final in Beijing.
“Just five minutes before the big final, I realised that the sight of my gun had been altered just a little bit. There was complete panic that was running through my head, but funnily enough, going into Beijing I had also trained for it.
“I was frozen for a moment though and had no clue what to do but giving up was not an option. I decided that I have to fight, hence I got up and tried to get my sights working in order. From there on I shot the best 10 shot of my life that eventually got me the medal.”
Bindra, who is also a world championship gold medallist, said that even before he had shot his first competition shot in Beijing, he considered himself as a winner in his own eyes.
“Well at that time it was very important for me to remain in the moment, I was not thinking ahead at all and just taking it one shot at a time,” he said.
“There was definitely a storm brewing up but since I had accepted the storm, all the things that were happening surrounding it did not really matter to me.
“I was just trying to be immersed in my technique and I was actually immersed in it. That is the difference between really performing well and not performing well at the highest level,” said the champion shooter.