10M AIR RI­FLE Mo­hali, Pun­jab

India Today - - SPORTS -

SPORT­ING STYLE Fif­teen min­utes af­ter win­ning the first in­di­vid­ual gold for In­dia at the Bei­jing Olympics in 2008, Ab­hi­nav Bin­dra could feel just one emo­tion: Re­lief. He had over­come the big­gest fear of his life: Be­ing in the Olympic lime­light. In his world, a mere 0.1 point dif­fer­ence can be the tip­ping point be­tween com­ing first and 10th. The ace sharp­shooter has de­scribed how he mas­tered the ob­ses­sion for de­tail in his mem­oir A Shot at His­tory: My Ob­ses­sive Jour­ney to Olympic Gold ( 2011). He used rub­ber from Fer­rari tyres to craft shoe soles, im­ported yak’s milk from China for strength, and even mapped his brain to un­der­stand it bet­ter.

VAN­TAGE POINT In­dia’s only gold medal­list per­son­i­fies quiet con­fi­dence. His per­pet­ual hunt for ways to en­hance men­tal po­tency will pre­pare him for the pres­sure of the fi­nal rounds.

CHAL­LENGE AHEAD No In­dian has ever won a medal in two Olympic events. Bin­dra’s tar­get is to equal or bet­ter his 2008 tally.

OLYMPIC RUN- UP Since Bei­jing 2008, Bin­dra has worked on im­prov­ing his fit­ness lev­els. He started the Olympic year by beat­ing long- time ri­val and Olympic cham­pion Zhu Qi­nan at the Asian Shoot­ing Cham­pi­onship held in Doha to win gold. But de­spite be­ing a gold medal­list, his score at the Olympic qual­i­fier in Mu­nich was 596, which ranked him eighth. He man­aged to book his berth only by hit­ting a 52.6 in the shoot- off.

“Peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions and ex­pert com­ments are part and par­cel of the game. I have learnt to em­brace the pres­sure, not fight it.”

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