Abhinav Bindra is a renowned Indian shooter who put India on the global shooting map by winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He holds the honour of being the first Indian to win an individual Olympic gold. Born in a well-to-do Punjabi Sikh family, Bindra showed interest in shooting from an early age and to encourage his interest, his parents had an indoor shooting range installed at their home in Patiala, Punjab. He represented India in the 1998 Commonwealth Games, at the age of 15, and was the youngest participant in the games. He started getting noticed after he won a bronze medal in the 2001 Munich World Cup by creating a new junior world record score of 597/600. Thereafter, he never looked back and his career graph went up and up. Besides winning the Olympic gold medal, he has won several medals in Commonwealth Games over the years and has also won the World Shooting Championship. Bindra's main contribution lay in the fact that he kindled public interest in shooting in India and has inspired many budding shooters to take the sport.
Childhood & Early Life
Abhinav Bindra was born on 28 September 1982, in Dehradun, India, to Dr. Arpit Bindra and Babli Bindra. Bindra’s father owned a business and the family was a prosperous one.
He studied at the elite Doon School located in Dehradun for a couple of years but later on moved to the St. Stephen’s School located in Chandigarh, Punjab. In 2000, he completed his high school education. He graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado.
He showed an interest in shooting from an early age and to support his interest his parents got a shooting range installed at their home in Patiala, Punjab. Bindra was initially coached mentored by Dr. Amit Bhattacharjee and subsequently by Lt. Colonel Dhillon.
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In 1998, at the age of 15, Abhinav Bindra participated in the Commonwealth Games, held at Kuala Lumpur; he was the youngest participant in the games.
He was part of Indian contingent for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. However, the event turned out to be a disappointment for him as he could not get past the qualifying rounds.
He made the heads turn with his performance in the 2001 Munich World Cup; he won a bronze medal with a new junior world score of 597/600. Overall he won six gold medals at various international meets in 2001.
Bindra came into his own at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, held at Manchester. He won the gold in the 10m Air Rifle Pairs event and silver in the 10m Air Rifle Singles event.
In the 2004 Athens Olympics, his performance was below par and he finished last in the field of eight, in the finals.
In 2006, he created history when he won the gold at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships, held at Zagreb, Croatia. Bindra became the first Indian to achieve this feat. In the Melbourne Commonwealth Games held in the same year, Bindra won a gold and bronze in the 10m Air Rifle (Pairs) and 10m Air Rifle (Singles), respectively.
Bindra’s finest moment of his career came at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing when he won the gold medal in the Men’s 10m air rifle event and his gold medal win ended a 28 year gold medal drought for India at the Olympics.
In 2010 Commonwealth Games, held at New Delhi, Bindra won the gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle (Pairs) in partnership with Gagan Narang and silver medal in the 10m Air Rifle event.
Bindra could not qualify for the 2012 London Olympics but at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, held at Glasgow, he was back at his best. He won a gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle event.
Awards & Acheivement
He is the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games.
He holds the distinction of being the first and only Indian to have held both the World and Olympic titles at the same time.
He was honoured with the Arjuna Award, in 2000, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award—the highest sports award in India—in 2001.
In 2009, Bindra was awarded the Padma Bhushan—the third highest civilian award in India.