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Story of an 'untalented' guy who struck gold

books Updated: Dec 02, 2011 20:07 IST

Deepti Patwardhan, Hindustan Times
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For most of the time, Abhinav Bindra looked like he was trying hard to mask the boredom. If he could help it, he wouldn't be in a crowd talking about his book, and the nuances of his sport, but back in Chandigarh, safe in his shooting range, dreaming more agonising dreams of another Olympic medal.

"I don't not want to remember I won an Olympic gold," Bindra says during the interaction. "I don't remember that I won an Olympic gold."

The words are so bereft of any charm, and with a shrug of the shoulder, you'd have to believe him. In a concocted world of sports marketing and be-nice-because-it's-good-for-publicity, Bindra, articulate and unsmiling, is a refreshing change.

He doesn't put on a face to please the media (it probably doesn't even make it to his priority list) and refuses to be seen as a 'commodity'.

This also holds true for his book: A shot at history, which had a soft launch in Mumbai on Friday at the Literary Festival. Contrary to the stir most sports autobiographies in recent times have caused, Bindra and the writer - Rohit Brijnath - say they wanted to tell the story of India's first individual Olympic goal medallist, the way they wanted to. Not sell a product.

After all it's about a man, who when asked to describe himself in a word, picks, "untalented." How's that for brand identity?

His next favourite word in the English dictionary is suffering. He suffered when he lost out on a medal chance at the 2004 Athens Games, he suffered even more when he did win the gold in Beijing, four years later.

"I went into depression for the next 10-15 days," he says, recounting the 'golden moment'. "When I called home after winning the medal, the first thing I asked my parents was 'How were the dogs?' I wanted to switch off from the circus around me at the time.

"There was an emptiness after I won the gold. For the past 15 years of my life, everyday I had woken up with a goal in my mind. The disappointment in Athens helped me dig deeper into my reserves. But what do you do after you've achieved the goal?"

In Bindra's world, you forget it. Treat it as a thing, though wonderful, of the past and move on. Because there's only one thing better than an Olympic gold medal: two Olympic gold medals.