Gone are the days when Abhinav Bindra shattered beer bottles in his lawn or tried the foolhardy act of shooting balloons placed on his maids head. The gold medalist at the Beijing Olympics has moved on and is now looking to make it big in London.
It is quite usual that all athletes peak prior to the Olympics, considering how important a medal is for them. After Beijing 2008, Bindra has preferred to keep a low profile and was only seen at random events and press conferences. But with a monk-like approach to shooting and a practice range in the backyard, the marksman should be all set for the big event.
The moment Bindra lands in London with India's 11-member shooting contingent, all eyes would be on the bespectacled 10m air rifle shooter. The journey for Bindra to clinch the elusive medal was no less a battle and not just any other metal than gold. He left no stone unturned to achieve his goal and would be seen practicing for hours at his home range alone " sometimes with his dogs giving him company.
In his biography, Bindra has revealed how shooting at times can be boring and that you are left all alone. But what kept him going was a shot at glory at the Olympics. Now the question remains if he is still motivated enough to give his best. Maybe, yes, an Olympic medal, standing on the podium, wreath on his head and the national anthem playing in the background gives him the same adrenaline rush.
In a cricket-crazy country, Bindra remained unaffected by the game and chose shooting for which he had a natural flair and fascination. At the age of 13, he scored a perfect 400 in a national competition but had no result against his name, because the officials thought he was too young to shoot so well.
Shooting is a vulnerable sport and on any given day with minor change to your equipment, breathing, surrounding can make a big difference. Like in Athens, everyone including Bindra was assured of a medal considering his form that Olympic year, but in the finals faulty flooring did him in.
Post Beijing, Bindra had no motivation to pick up a gun. The thought of quitting even fleetingly passed through his mind. But somehow a drained Bindra gave himself a second chance and managed to qualify late for the London Olympics. Being a reticent and private person, he has not spoken about his preparation, but surely one can expect that he won't be just going there as a mere participant.