Abhinav Singh Bindra was born on September 28, 1982 in DehraDun, Uttarakhand, is an Indian shooter from Zirakpur, Mohali, Punjab and is the current World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event. By winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games and India’s first gold medal since 1980, when the Men’s Field Hockey Team won the gold.
His parents, Dr. Manjit Singh, had an indoor shooting range installed at their home in Patiala,Punjab. Abhinav’s Mental Coach is Dr. Amit Bhattacharjee – who has been closely associated with him since the beginning of his career. Dr. Amit Bhattacharjee and Lt. Col. Dhillon (who was also his first Coach) were the first ones to spot the potential in Abhinav. Bindra was the youngest Indian participant at the 2000 Olympic Games. His current coach is five-time Olympic shooter Gabriele Bühlmann from Basel, Switzerland, with whom he trained in Germany before the Olympics. In the 2000 Olympics he achieved a score of 590, placing him 11th in the qualification round, and did not qualify for the finals since only the top 8 compete in the finals.
At 15, Abhinav Bindra became the youngest participant in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. His fame to honour though came when he won a Bronze in the 2001 Munich World Cup with a new junior world record score of 597/600. Bindra was also the youngest Indian participant at the 2000 Olympic Games.
He won six gold medals at various international meets in 2001. In 2001 he was honoured with the Arjuna Award and the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2001.
In the Air rifle event at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester, he won Gold in the Pairs event. Bindra also won Silver in the individual event.
In the 2004 Athens Olympics, despite breaking the Olympic record Bindra failed to win a medal. He scored 597 in the qualification round and was placed third behind Qinan Zhu (599 – Olympic Record) and Li Jie (598). In the finals, Abhinav finished with 97.6 points, last in the field of eight, and was the only player below 100 points. His sub-par finals dropped him from third to seventh.
But on July 24, 2006, Bindra became the first Indian shooter to win a World Championship gold in Zagreb. Dr. Karni Singh’s Silver in 1962 was the previous best by an Indian in a World Championship meet.
At the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, he won the Gold in the Pairs event and the Bronze in the Singles event. Abhinav missed the 2006 Asian Games at Doha because of a back injury.
But it was after this success that he started suffering from a severe back injury. So much so that he was unable to compete or even lift a rifle for a year, upsetting his preparations for the Beijing Games. However, Bindra put all speculation to rest, bringing India perhaps her biggest sporting glory ever. Bindra booked his place in the 2008 Olympics by winning the gold medal at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships with a score of 699.1.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra won the gold for the Men’s 10m Air Rifle final after shooting a total of 700.5. He scored 596 (fourth) in the qualifying round and out-scored all other shooters in the finals with a round of 104.5. In the finals, he started with a shot of 10.7, and none of his shots were below 10.0. Bindra was tied with Henri Häkkinen heading into his final shot. Bindra scored his highest of the finals – 10.8 while Hakkinen came with 9.7 to settle for the Bronze medal. It has been alleged that Abhinav Bindra’s gun was tampered with between the qualifying and final round of the event, though no official complaint was filed by the Indian contingent.
This was India’s first individual gold medal at the Olympics, and the first gold in 28 years, since the men’s field hockey team won the gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Bindra was rewarded by various Indian state governments and private organizations for his achievement.
When the 2010 Commonwealth Games was held in New-Delhi,Abhinav Bindra got the honour of being the Indian contingent’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony. He also got the honour of taking the athletes’ oath on behalf of the 6,700 participants from 71 countries and territories on that occasion. Abhinav Bindra along with Gagan Narang shot in unison to set a Games record 1193 in 10m air rifle pair’s event for men to win the first gold for India in the 19th Commonwealth Games. The duo scored 1193 together to break the earlier record of 1189 which is also to their credit in the last Games held four years back in Melbourne. However the Olympic Champion had to settle for silver in the individual event. His countryman Gagan Narang who shot a perfect 600 to equal his own world record in men’s 10m individual air rifle qualification won the Gold.
Abhinav Bindra holds a B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration) from the University of Colorado, US.
Bindra is the CEO of Abhinav Futuristics, the sole distributor of Walther arms in India. Abhinav has sponsorship tie-ups with Samsung, BSNL and Sahara Group.
He is also the brand ambassador by State-run Steel Authority of India Ltd. and also a member of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Sports Committee since 2010.