It’s true that India, as a nation, has won a total of 9 gold medals at the Olympics. However, what is also true is that 8 of these gold medals were won in hockey, which is a team sport. If we look at individual events, India has won only 1 gold medal at the Olympics. This is surprising since India has been participating at the Olympics for more than 100 years now and it has been able to win only 1 gold medal in the individual events. This significant achievement was made possible by Abhinav Bindra, who won the Olympic Gold in Shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Having won the first and only Olympic gold medal for the country in more than a century, Bindra became a celebrity overnight and was awarded with various honors and monetary rewards.
Abhinav Bindra was born in a Punjabi family on September 28, 1982 in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. He started his schooling at the Doon School and later shifted to St. Stephen’s School in Chandigarh. Bindra developed a natural liking for the game of shooting since his school days, something that helped hone his career. Bindra started practicing shooting at an indoor shooting range that was setup at his home. His shooting skills were phenomenal and with practice and guidance, his skills improved further. Bindra’s first major exposure was at the 2000 Olympic Games, where he was the youngest member of the Indian contingent. Bindra did not win any medal at the 2000 Olympic Games, but at 17 years, he was confident that he had plenty of time to improve and eventually win an Olympic medal.
Abhinav Bindra participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but had to face disappointment once again. However, he did not lose hope and kept practicing and improving his skills. The most important win of his career came at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when he won the gold medal in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event. Bindra was placed fourth in the qualifying round, but he raced ahead of everyone in the finals, scoring 10 plus in every shot. This day will never be forgotten in the history of Indian sports, as it was the first Olympic Gold medal won by an Indian in an individual event. Abhinav Bindra has won gold medals at various other events such as ISSF World Shooting Championship and Commonwealth Games.
Abhinav Bindra participated in 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, but was not able to win any medals. After the 2016 Rio Olympics, he announced his retirement so that newcomers can be given the opportunity. Bindra has received various awards such as Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (India’s highest sports award), Padma Bhushan and Honorary lieutenant colonel by Indian Territorial Army.