Millennium Post

Bindra bids Adieu

After capping off his remarkable career as a full-time marksman by winning two bronze at the Asian Games, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra has decided to hang his boots and now he will only be a ‘hobby shooter’ from now on.

Having broken the Asiad jinx with a bronze in the men’s 10m air rifle individual event, after piloting the team to a third-place finish, Bindra indicated that his career as a serious exponent was over.

‘The tweet is very easy to understand, I don’t know what the confusion is. I said that for twenty years I have been a professional shooter living a life where I did nothing but shoot - day in and out training my heart out. But from tomorrow, I am a hobby shooter and will train twice a week, that’s it,’ Bindra said.

He made it clear that it was a well thought-out decision and not a spur of the moment one.
‘It was not a sudden decision. I don’t know how I will do (as a hobby shooter) as I have always been a shooter who has given his best,’ he added. Asked about the Rio Olympics, he said, ‘I have just answered the question, what can I say about the Rio Olympics.’

However, he was not emphatic whether this was his last major meet or not.
‘May be, I don’t know,’ he said.

The shooter, who had won a historic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, nurtures hopes of qualifying for the Rio Games but without the sort of dedicated effort needed to practice the art day in and out.

‘I will still go to the domestic trials and see if I can make the team and I will only compete at the World Cup if I am at a certain level. I don’t want to go to the World Cup shooting 620. If I am able to shoot at the level I am shooting at the moment I will make an attempt. Otherwise I will perhaps give my chance to the next person,’ said Bindra.

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who powered the country to the team bronze in the company of teammates Sanjeev Rajput and Ravi Kumar while qualifying for the finals, shot 187.1 to take the individual honour. Bindra said he was happy with his effort and the result here.

‘There is no question of relief, I did a good job. Relief is not the emotion I am not feeling. I feel happy. I think I shot very well in the finals. I shot very well in the competition. I worked very hard and had a fine day.’

‘I am absolutely delighted with what I have achieved. In shooting there’s nothing within the reach, it has to happen. That’s how it happens in this sport. I implore you to watch more shooting you will understand it much better. This is exactly how it happens all the time,’ he added.

He said as far as he was concerned, the Games were history and he was heading home today.
‘I feel fine. I am tired, want to eat something, want to go home. I will be checking out of the village at 3 pm. The Asian Games is officially over for me. Perhaps I will catch it on TV.’

He said he tweeted to make the public know about his feelings.

‘I just wanted to bring out my feelings to the public eye. You complain I don’t talk here I am giving information and there’s a problem.’

Looking ahead, he said he will have a heavy schedule even without shooting professionally.

‘I will not have a free time, a challenging life awaits me. I will train twice a week. Let me see how it goes I have never been a hobby shooter.‘On the 6th of October I am going to Bangalore to do some work with my foundation where we are giving scholarships to several shooters. We are going to conduct a workshop for them.’

Family wants him to get  married.

Dr Amit Bhattacharjee has been Abhinav Bindra’s mental trainer for nearly two decades. The Chandigarh-based Bhattacharjee first met Bindra in 1994 and their partnership has stood the test of time. Bhattacharjee, a research officer at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Chandigarh, was quoted as saying as, ‘Abhinav’s announcement that the Asiad would be his last competition did not come as a surprise to me. He had discussed this with all of us before the games.

It takes a lot of courage to announce the decision a day before the event because it would mean more people would be watching him participate one last time, and this adds to the pressure. But that’s what he did at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. And he won gold.’

Training and trials will go on

Bindra won’t take part in most events now.  But he hopes to take part at the Rio Games two years from now. ‘I will train twice a week from here on. I will try to compete domestically and compete at all the trials. And only if I am good enough for the world level like I did here I would try to go for the World Cups,’ he said. Another Olympics will happen only if he feels good; if he is shooting decent scores. But he still ‘very much’ hopes to be at Rio. ‘I want to be a hobby shooter for a bit. If I am shooting well enough to compete at World Cups, I will surely go for trials. If I qualify for Rio, of course, I will compete,’ glancing at Yang. The 18-year-old could just smile and nod. Perhaps the mind games for a possible showdown have already begun.
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