Abhinav Bindra (born 28 September 1982, in Dehradun,Uttarakhand,India) is an Indian businessman and retired professional shooter who is a World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event. By winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games. It was also India’s first gold medal since 1980, when the Men’s Field Hockey Team won the gold. He is the first and only Indian to have held both the World and Olympic titles at the same time, a feat he accomplished by capturing the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, after having won the gold at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Abhinav won Gold Medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.
In 2014, Abhinav Bindra joined the GoSports Foundation, Bangalore as a member of their board of advisors. In collaboration with the GoSports Foundation, he will also provide support to India’s up and coming talented shooters through the Abhinav Bindra Shooting Development Programme.
In May 2016, the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) appointed Abhinav Bindra as the Goodwill Ambassador for Rio 2016 Olympic Games Indian Contingent.
Recently in Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, Bindra finished 4th in the finals of 10m Air Rifle Event. On 5 September, 2016 – Abhinav Bindra announced his retirement to give way to younger generation.
Abhinav Bindra was born in the home of Punjabi family. He studied at The Doon School for two years before moving to St. Stephen’s School, Chandigarh; he graduated from Stephen’s in 2000. In Kolkata Literary Meet, Bindra said that he had to get in some sports when he was in Doon School and he took up shooting reluctantly. Later, he fell in love with the sport. His parents had an indoor shooting range installed at their home in Patiala, Punjab. His Mentor was Dr.Amit Bhattacharjee who has been closely associated with him since the beginning of his career. Bhattacharjee and Lt. Col. Dhillon (who was also his first Coach) were the first ones to spot the potential in Abhinav. Bindra was the youngest Indian participant at the 2000 Olympic Games. His current coach is a five-time Olympic shooter Gabriele Bhlmann from Basel, Switzerland, with whom he trained in Germany before the Olympics.
In the 2000 Olympics Bindra achieved a score of 590, placing him 11th in the qualification round, meaning he did not qualify for the finals since only the top eight competed in the finals. After his disappointing performance, Bindra was 17 years at that time, so it is no surprise that he said that he had no plans to retire from shooting.
Notable international performance
At 15, Abhinav Bindra became the youngest participant in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. His breakthrough, though came when he won a Bronze in the 2001 Munich World Cup with a new junior world record score of 597/600. Bindra was also the youngest Indian participant at the 2000 Olympic Games.
In the Air rifle event at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester, he won Gold in the Pairs event. Bindra also won Silver in the individual event.
In the 2004 Athens Olympics, despite breaking the Olympic record Bindra failed to win a medal. He scored 597 in the qualification round and was placed third behind Qinan Zhu (599 new Olympic Record) and Li Jie (598). In the finals, Abhinav finished with 97.6 points, last in the field of eight, and was the only player below 100 points. His sub-par finals dropped him from third to seventh.
On 24 July 2006, Bindra became the first Indian shooter to win a World Championship gold in Zagreb. Dr. Karni Singh’s Silver in 1962 was the previous best by an Indian in a World Championship meet.
After these successes he started suffering from a severe back injury, so much so that he was unable to compete or even lift a rifle for a year, upsetting his preparations for the Beijing Games. However, Bindra put all speculation to rest, bringing India perhaps his biggest sporting glory ever. Bindra booked his place in the 2008 Olympics by winning the gold medal at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships with a score of 699.1.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra won the gold in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle event after shooting a total of 700.5. He scored 596 (fourth) in the qualifying round and out-scored all other shooters in the finals with a round of 104.5. In the finals, he started with a shot of 10.7, and none of his shots were below 10.0. Bindra was tied with Henri Hkkinen heading into his final shot. Bindra scored his highest of the finals 10.8 while Hakkinen shot 9.7 to settle for the Bronze medal. It has been alleged that Abhinav Bindra’s gun was tampered with between the qualifying and final round of the event, though no official complaint was filed by the Indian contingent. This was India’s first individual gold medal at the Olympics, and the first gold in 28 years, since the men’s field hockey team won the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Bindra was rewarded by various Indian state governments and private organisations for his achievement.
When the 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in New-Delhi, Abhinav Bindra got the honour of being the Indian contingent’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. He also got the honour of taking the athletes’ oath on behalf of the 6,700 participants from 71 countries and territories on that occasion. Abhinav Bindra along with Gagan Narang shot in unison to set a Games record 1193 in 10m air rifle pair’s event for men to win the first gold for India in the 19th Commonwealth Games. However the Olympic Champion had to settle for silver in the individual event. His countryman Gagan Narang, who shot a perfect 600 to equal his own world record in men’s 10m individual air rifle qualification, won the Gold.
Abhinav Bindra won the Gold medal in the Men’s 10-metre Air rifle event at the 12th Asian Shooting Championships, which was held in Doha Qatar.
Abhinav Bindra lost in the qualification round in 2012 London Olympics finishing with a score of 594 placing him in 16th, though his compatriot Gagan Narang made it to the finals in 3rd place, and went on to win the bronze medal for India, thereby opening the medal tally for India in London Olympics 2012.
He holds a B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration) from the University of Colorado, US. Bindra is the CEO of Abhinav Futuristics, the sole distributor of Walther arms in India. Abhinav has sponsorship tie-ups with Samsung, BSNL and Sahara Group. He is also the brand ambassador by State-run Steel Authority of India Ltd. and also a member of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Sports Committee since 2010.
Bindra feels that he has no talent and his only talent is that he can practise regularly, diligently and honestly. He said that he had a dream of winning gold medals in Olympics from the very first day he started shooting practice. According to him, most Indian parents do not consider sports as a profession. Bindra wants people to look up sports as a serious profession in India.
HarperSport published his autobiography, A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold which he co-authored with sportswriter Rohit Brijnath in October 2011. It was formally released by Union Sports minister, Ajay Maken on 27 October 2011 at a function in New Delhi, thereafter the book went on to receive good reviews. Harshvardhan Kapoor will essay the lead in Abhinav’s biopic for the big screen.
Awards and recognition
- 2000 Arjuna award.
- 2001 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (India’s highest sports award).
- 2009 Padma Bhushan.
- 2011 Honorary lieutenant colonel by Indian Territorial Army
Awards for 2008 Olympics Gold medal
- 15 million (US$230,000) by Mittal Champions Trust
- 5 million (US$78,000) cash prize by Central Govt
- 2.5 million (US$39,000) cash prize by the state government of Haryana.
- 2.5 million (US$39,000) cash prize by the Board of Control for Cricket in India
- 1.5 million (US$23,000) cash prize by Steel Ministry of India
- 1.1 million (US$17,000) cash prize by the state government of Bihar. The Patna Indoor Stadium will be renamed after Abhinav Bindra.
- 1 million (US$16,000) prize by the state government of Karnataka
- 1 million (US$16,000) cash prize by S. Amolak Singh Gakhal, Chairman Golds Gym
- 1 million (US$16,000) cash prize by Chief Minister of Maharashtra state
- 500,000 (US$7,800) cash prize by state government of Orissa
- 500,000 (US$7,800) cash prize by Government of Tamil Nadu
- 100,000 (US$1,600) cash prize by the state government of Chhattisgarh
- 100,000 (US$1,600) cash prize by the state government of Madhya Pradesh
- A free lifetime railway pass by the Railway Ministry of India
- A Gold medal by the state government of Kerala.
- 1.5 million (US$23,000) cash award by Pune Municipal Corporation.