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Television 12-24-2008 07:32 PM

Bindra's gold provided the luster in 2008
 
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</td></tr></tbody></table> Year 2008 will always be remembered for shooter Abhinav Bindra's historic feat of winning India's first individual Olympic gold medal. It gave the country its most coveted sporting moment.



On that memorable day of August 11, World champion Bindra added a golden chapter to India's 108-year Olympic history as he clinched the yellow metal in the 10-metre air rifle event in Beijing.

Television 12-24-2008 07:33 PM

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</td></tr></tbody></table> Otherwise, the year fluctuated between perfection and mediocrity for other Indian shooters. Gagan Narang, who missed a medal at the Beijing Games by a whisker, fired perfect scores of the World record-equaling 600/600 in Germany and 400/400 in Bangkok to underlined the fact that it was sheer bad luck that he was not on the podium alongside Bindra at the Olympics.



Post a comment The 25-year-old Hyderabadi, who missed the Olympic final on the count-back with a 595, shot two different records to win the 10m air rifle in the World Cup finals in Bangkok.
Outclassing a strong field that comprised everyone except reigning World and Olympic champion Bindra, who had opted to rest, Narang entered the final round with an equalled world record, and then raised the limits of the sport by setting a new record of 703.5.
In the process, Narang erased the record held by Thomas Farnik of Austria, who had shot 703.1 at the World Cup finals at Granada, Spain in 2006.

Television 12-24-2008 07:33 PM

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</td></tr></tbody></table> At the Olympics, among a nine-member Indian shooting squad which had flag-bearer and Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the 'baby-face' Bindra was never really a favourite even though he had the world title under his belt.
Post a comment Four years ago, at the Athens Games, he looked all set for an Olympic medal when he strolled into the final with a score of 597 out of 600 and was placed third. He was shooting like dream but in the final, he got a reality check when he shot the worst series of the day to crash to a seventh-place finish.
The Chandigarh-lad, however, did not lose heart as he took the struggling path and his father spared no effort to ensure the best of everything from equipment to coaches to training stints in Europe for exposure to a private shooting range at his farmhouse near Chandigarh.

Television 12-24-2008 07:34 PM

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</td></tr></tbody></table> At Beijing, Bindra entered into the shooting range ranked number 17 in the world and was pitted against heavyweights like Athens Olympic champion Zhu Qinan of China and Henri Hakkinen of Finland, rated much higher than the Indian.


Post a comment But Bindra proved that reputation and history counted little as he overcame a two-point deficit against Zhu and Haikkinen after the qualifying round and shot a 10.8 in the final to give India its best sporting moment ever.
The bespectacled shooter, however, betrayed all emotions when he received the gold medal from the Princess of Lichtenstein.

Television 12-24-2008 07:35 PM

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</td></tr></tbody></table> On the downside, Rathore (double trap), Narang (50m rifle prone and 50m rifle three positions), Mansher Singh (trap), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (trap), Samresh Jung (10m air pistol and 50m air pistol), Sanjeev Rajput (50m air rifle and 50m rifle three positions), Anjali Bhagwat and Avneet Kaur Sidhu (both 10m air rifle and 50m rifle three positions) - had disappointing outings in Beijing, failing to make their respective final rounds.


Email this Page | Post a comment Rathore, who showed that Indian shooters could do it when he won the silver medal in double trap at Athens four years ago, was a shadow of his former self.
Pressure was clearly on the veteran marksman after Bindra won the gold and the army man wilted under it in the qualifying round itself, admitting that he "struggled" to read targets as he shot 131 to be placed 15th overall.


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