Vasudevan Baskaran, who had led India win its last Olympic gold medal in hockey in 1980 Moscow edition, today described shooter Abhinav Bindra's feat as better than his team's effort 28 years ago.
"I saw it live when he won the medal. It was a thrilling win. When the medal ceremony was on and the Indian flag was up, I felt that Bindra's gold medal is better than my team's Moscow Olympic gold medal," Baskaran told PTI.
Indian hockey team won the gold in 1980 Moscow Olympics after 16 years by defeating Spain 4-3.
Overwhelmed by Bindra's 10-meter air rifle shooting event win to become first event individual gold medallist, Baskaran said the medal would inspire the whole Indian contingent.
"It is a great achievement as Bindra capped with an individual gold medal. He has done all of us proud and there is no parallel to this. I think he has put himself on top compared to every one.
"Perhaps, Bindra is the lone athlete to have won gold medals in Asian championship, Asian Games, CommonWealth Games and World Championships earlier. I am sure, the Indian contingent in Beijing would have been inspired by now," he said.
Former tennis ace Vijay Amritraj also termed it as a great moment for the country and said it would improve India's status as a sports nation at the international level.
"It is a great moment for India. I always said we had a good chance at shooting. Bindra has brought us all great honour and pride. It should inspire all our athletes in Beijing to improve upon our status in the quadrennial games," Amritraj said.
Shiny Wilson, who participated in four Olympics, said Bindra's medal would boost the morale of Indian atletes and they would hope to be in medal bracket.
"I was glued to the television when Bindra was shooting. As he was on his last two or three rounds, I was sure that he is going win a medal. When he won the gold medal, I felt that I myself had won it," Shiny said.
"This was the feeling that I underwent as I had competed in four Olympics. I am also sure that Bindra's gold medal win will be morale booster for the other Indian athletes to perform well and come in the medal bracket," she added.