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India's first individual gold medal Beijing 2008 men’s 10m air rifle


It’s difficult to comprehend that before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing that India – the world’s second most populous nation – had never won an individual gold medal on the greatest sporting stage of all.

India’s field hockey team had enjoyed golden moments but never had an athlete taken the limelight on his or her own until shooter Abhinav Bindra held his nerve in the men’s 10m air rifle event.
Bindra had shown a prodigious talent from an early age and, encouraged by his parents who installed a shooting range at their home, he represented India at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur at the age of just 16.

He was the youngest member of the Indian team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, but only after those Games did he begin to exhibit the dead-eye focus required by the world’s elite shots.
Backed not just by his family but also by government and corporate funding, Bindra bagged a silver medal in the individual event at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, and then the gold medal with his partner in the pairs.

Despite qualifying in third place for the final at the Athens Olympics, he could only finish seventh and when a back problem hampered his ability to shoot comfortably there were real doubts about whether he could achieve the Olympic gold.

Victory in the 2006 world championships in Zagreb, despite the lingering back issue, gave him the belief that he could go and win the biggest title of them all.

When the world’s best convened at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall at the 2008 Olympic Games, defending champion and home favourite Zhu Qinan was fancied to add to his Athens gold.
Bindra qualified in fifth place but in the final he truly turned on the style.

Bindra never scored less than 10 with any of his shots in the final and when he was tied with Finn Henry Hakkinen he produced his best shot of the day with a 10.8 to seal an emotional gold medal - and a country long overdue individual success celebrated in style.

 
   

43 Highlights

  • Opening Ceremony
  • Katerina Emmons - women’s 10m air rifle
  • Salukvadze, Pederina praised for gesture
  • Dutch end long wait for relay gold
  • Korean archery domination continues
  • Aussies edge Americans in scintillating relay
  • India's first individual gold medal
  • Coughlin again thwarts fast-finishing Coventry
  • Benjamin Boukpeti
  • Rice hits golden hat-trick in 4x200m relay
  • Phelps rewrites Olympic record books
  • China wins maiden team gymnastics gold
  • Steffen completes comeback with golden double
  • Andrunache emerges from Ignat’s shadow
  • The oldest winner of the women’s table tennis singles
  • Lightning Bolt electrifies Bird’s Nest
  • Roger Federer
  • British foursome continue Redgrave’s legacy
  • Zagunis leads U.S. clean sweep in sabre
  • Guo glitters in Water Cube
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Fraser leads unique Jamaican treble
  • Rebecca Romero
  • Reborn Taylor takes second hurdles title
  • Incredible Lezak puts Phelps on road to eight golds
  • Hoy joins cycling greats
  • Liukin follows in father’s footsteps
  • Jones heartbreak evokes Devers as Harper takes gold
  • IOC’s helping hand guides Nikpai to bronze
  • Bolt overcomes Johnson’s legendary 200m mark
  • Japan rock U.S. with softball win
  • Chausson, Strombergs grab first BMX golds
  • Campbell-Brown retains 200m crown
  • Steve Hooker
  • Jamaican foursome break world record
  • Perfect Walsh, May-Treanor star on the sand
  • Hellebaut raises the bar in battle with Vlasic
  • Korea ends baseball’s Olympic era with Cuban upset
  • Hungary secure stunning water polo hat-trick
  • Party atmosphere as curtain drawn on Beijing
  • Kanayeva waltzes to rhythmic gold
  • Mighty France thwart giantkillers Iceland
  • US restores basketball pride