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On This Day: Abhinav Bindra won India’s first individual Olympic gold at 2008 Beijing Olympics

Abhinav Bindra's gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was only India's second Olympic medal in shooting.

Abhinav Bindra won India's first individual gold at Beijing Olympics

13 years down the lane, on August 11, Abhinav Bindra scripted history at the Beijing Olympics. Shooting a series of 10+ shots, Bindra brought home India’s maiden Olympic gold medal as he took the pole position in 10m air rifle shooting. The five-time Olympian brought his A-game to his second final in a row to clinch the historic gold medal.

Bindra started his Olympic journey at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he finished 11 as he failed to make it to the finals. In his second Olympic appearance at the 2004 Athens Games, the star air rifle shooter made it to his maiden final. Bindra finished seventh with a cumulative score of 694.6.

Abhinav Bindra hits the bulls eye to bring home the gold

Abhinav Bindra

The third time proved to be the charm for Abhinav Bindra as he returned with India’s second-ever Olympic medal in shooting. Bindra finished fourth in qualifications with a score of 596. He took the final by storm with a series of 10+ shots as she put his best foot forward on the big stage.

In his final shot of the final, he shot a 10.8 to seal the gold medal for India. Bindra was tied with Finland’s Henri Hakkinen after his ninth shot and anything less than 10.8 would have seen him settle for settle. But the ace shooter held his nerve as he finished the final with 700.5 points as he scored 104.5 in the final.

‘Slight bounce’ saw Abhinav Bindra miss out on a medal in the 2004 Olympics

Abhinav Bindra

It was interesting as to why Bindra lost out in the 2004 Athens Olympics. He reported that the floor below his position at the range ‘was unsteady’. His coach discovered this and filed a complaint with the technical committee. “They discovered the glue wasn’t glued tight and a bubble had formed. It meant the tile had a slight bounce. Slight in shooting was fatal. Slight meant I was doomed,” Abhinav has written in his autobiography.

Even though he had a gut-wrenching loss in the 2004 Olympics, he came back strong to win a Gold medal in the 2006 World Championships, securing his spot at the 2008 Olympics, after which he ended up winning Olympic gold in the 10-meter rifle event.

He finished fourth in the 10-meter rifle event at the 2016 Rio Olympics and announced his retirement soon after. He is now the founder of the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to integrate sports, science, and technology into Indian sports and encourage high-performance physical training.

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