India’s only individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra believes he is not a talented individual, but an athlete who works very hard. The 2016 Rio Games will be Bindra’s fifth Olympics. He began his journey at the age of 17 in 2000 Sydney. He said he is not looking back at the gold he won at the 2008 Beijing Games. Bindra is aiming to win another gold in Rio.
“I do not look back at it. I have the gold. It looks great on my wall and it feels great because I put in 15 years of my life into it. I trained extremely hard and achieved my dream, but that is the past. In sport, yesterday doesn’t matter. Whether you win gold or finish last, it is the same. What you do on that particular day is the only reality and I am looking at the present. I don’t really care about the past. I am committed to the present,” said 10-metre air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra.
For Rio, Bindra wants to keep things “simple”. “I am trying not to complicate things. People ask me if I have been training the same way as I did before Beijing, but what was relevant eight years ago is not important anymore. This time, my focus is a lot on my physical well being as my body is not getting younger. I am working with a battery of experts, that includes physiotherapists and sport medicine experts. You have to be well trained to be flexible and creative enough to accept things when they do not go your way. You can keep trying things but there is no guarantee for anything and one has to accept it,” he said.
Abhinav Bindra does not like competition and comparison. He calls it as “stupid”. “Don’t get me wrong. I love to win medals and be at the top, but the entire process of competing and grinding doesn’t come naturally to me. I am not like Virat Kohli, who loves that pressure and the big stage and gives his best while competing in extremely trying conditions. All this is a struggle for me. I am a guy who likes to be quiet most of the times and be on my own. I do not like confrontation of any kind and try and avoid it,” the gold medalist said.
This will be Bindra’s fifth and last Olympics, and he says he is proud of having survived so long. “It is important to be at the top of your game, every single minute, every single second. That is what I have been trying to achieve and learn all these years,” he said.
After the glorious gold medal in 2008, he did not reach the final round in London 2012. It has been quite a journey for Bindra. “I found it easier to bounce back after the London Games. I thought I did well there but could not reach the final. And since my goal was unfulfilled, I was ready to return to training and work harder. There was work left to do,” he added.