New Delhi: Despite finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics, former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra rated the 2016 Games as the best of his career.
The 33-year-old shooter made history by winning a gold in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was India’s first individual Olympic yellow medal and the first gold since 1980 when men’s hockey team returned home on a high.
At the recently concluded Rio Olympics, Bindra failed to add to his trophy cabinet after the star shooter stood fourth in the final of 10m air rifle event.
“I have played five Olympics so far, and in Beijing I clinched a Gold but still I rate Rio Olympics as my best one, even though I failed to grab any medal there but still it will be my favourite because I learnt new things, faced many difficulties, did a lot of hard work,” Bindra said after inaugurating the Franchise India 2016.
Franchise India, the two-day mega event that provides a one-of- its kind platform to Indian and global brands to scout for expansion opportunities by meeting potential business investors from across the country.
Although India managed just two medals in Rio, Bindra heaped praises on the Indian contingent, who participated in the Games.
Out of a 119-strong contingent, India got only a silver in badminton and a bronze medal in wrestling while Dipa Karmakar was outstanding in women’s gymnastics.
“In order to participate in the Olympic games, the athlete had to qualify for it. And its a achievement to get there only. As long as athelete or an individual gives his best you should be proud of that athlete. If we send 200 people and all of them gives their heart, soul, blood and then they fail, I will be still very proud of it,” the shooter said.
Bindra also spoke about his journey to the Olympics and how he inspired himself to do well in the games.
“I started with a very very small thought of participating in any sport, any physical activity. My father told me to pick some sport. So I tried lot of sports but I hated them all until I introduced to shooting,” Bindra said.
“To succeed in shooting you have to stand still and that is the first reason why I chose this game and then slowly I started liking it and that gave birth to passion go the Olympic games,” he added.
When questioned about what inspired him at the next Olympics after winning the Gold at Beijing, the Arjuna Awardee said: “As an athlete you loose more than you win. there were time the winning is also really hard and I set up a goal to win an Olympic medal and each day I woke with this goal in my mind and at one fine day I had a medal in my pocket,”
“The very next day I was all dressed up but I did not know what to do now. It was really difficult time for me personally but over the time I realised that this is the something I am passionate about and at the end of the day its all about bettering yourself. So from then I started working on sharpen my skills and to better myself each day. Post beijing, I had a thought in my mind that I should leave shooting and move on to something else but then I went on a meditation to know what to do now,” he added.
Bindra, who was satisfied with his performance at Rio, explained that he dealt with a bad day by devoting more time to training.
There were reports that just before the Olympic qualifications, the table on which Bindra’s rifle was placed broke all of a sudden. It also damaged the ‘sight’ of his favourite rifle forcing him to replace it with a standby one.
“When I was having a bad day I go to the shooting range to work may be five hours more. Even at the Rio Olympics when things were not going good I went back to the practice. One day were going to games village and I heard that there is possibility to practice 15 minutes more, I ran out of the bus and went back to training. So for me, to overcome a bad day is to try again and train more and harder.