Shooter Abhinav Bindra’s achievement of an Olympic gold medal on Monday was, in a way, an example of history repeating itself if one connects it to India’s cricket World Cup triumph in 1983.
Twenty-five years ago at Lord’s, 11 Indians –led by Kapil Dev – emerged champions with the odds heavily stacked against them. Similarly in Beijing, Bindra was an underdog in India’s quest for an Olympic gold.
And Kapil hailed Bindra’s achievement as “bigger than any other sporting achievement”.
“His achievement is much bigger than any other sporting achievement,” Kapil told Hindustan Times on Monday from London. “I think individual achievements have far more impact than team achievements. And, in sports, an Olympic gold medal stands above everything. I am sure this achievement will help the sporting scenario in India.”
Apart from being world-beaters, Kapil and Bindra have more in common. They are both from Chandigarh. Kapil said it was “special” to see a Chandigarh boy achieving something that no Indian has before.
“It definitely feels special that a Chandigarh boy has achieved this feat. But now is the time for every Indian to celebrate, irrespective of the state he or she belongs to,” he said.
“I wish I were in India so that I would have participated in the celebrations,” he added. “But due to professional commitments I am in London.”
Kapil felt Bindra’s feat would provide the much-needed fillip to India’s sporting scenario. “It will have a very big impact in the coming years,” he said. “I think the country needed such an outstanding achievement to boost the sporting culture. Looking at Abhinav’s feat, I am sure every kid will start thinking: ‘If he can do it, so can I.’”
Asked whether India’s maiden individual gold at the Games will affect the stature of cricket in India, he said: “I don’t think it would be fair to give more importance to one sport. The emergence of different kinds of sports will be good for sports in general. Abhinav’s feat will surely play a major role in this direction.”