Bindra wins gold!

To live in an era when history is made is special! To watch history being made is even better!

An irritating cough kept me at home this Monday morning! And woe unto me if I regret spending this day at home!

A loud set of claps followed by a loud grunt ‘Yes’ was enough for mummy, who was on the phone, to take the hint!

A little smile from the handsome young man was his only emotion as he turned to acknowledge the few Indians on the stand! Abhinav Bindra had just claimed India’s first ever individual gold medal in Olympics in the 10M Air Rifle Men’s Shooting event!

Coming to the final, Bindra was in fourth position. But a few good rounds first up pushed him up to third just behind the Chinese (obviously I forgot his name! To be very honest, that was all I expected from him, for Indians have a not-to-be-proud-of reputation of collapsing at just the final stretch. In fact, I feared the shooter in the fourth position, who too was having a fairly good set of rounds, might overtake Bindra! But wasn’t to be as Bindra maintained his consistent run and soon overtook the Chinese and was now closing in on the leader, Henri Hakkinen of Finland! One average round from Hakkinen meant Bindra taking the lead! Ninth round and Bindra had his worst score in the final! He was now sharing the lead with the Fin! Again the pessimist in me spoke “He is an Indian. He’ll falter just when it matters. Pressure will get to him!” But in Bindra’s case it wasn’t to be! If composure was personified, you would find it on Bindra’s face! Bindra shot his best score in the final round as the Fin fell prey to nerves and lost not just his lead but was pushed down to third position!

To hear the national on the background with our tricolour rising above the Chinese flag was a special feeling! Needless to say, it was difficult to hold back our tears of joy!

Like a good majority of the Indians, who had no clue what it takes to qualify for the highest level in a sport, I too had no expectations from the 98-member Indian contingent. This contingent had only 56 athletes, while the rest included ‘officials, coaches and others’! I’m told Sania Mirza’s mom too was one of them! But I am glad Abhinav Bindra proved me wrong (as if it mattered!) and how!!! Good on you mate!!!

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