ABHINAV BINDRA is known for inviting tags that were not exactly kind. Some called him a snob, others self-centred. On Monday, the world tagged the marksman a champ.
The 24-year-old from Chandigarh did a first for an Indian when he clinched the 10-metre air-rifle gold at the quadrennial ISSF World Shooting Championships in Zagreb, Croatia. The previous best was the silver-medal performance of legendary trap shooter Maharaja Karni Singh at the Cairo World Championships in 1962.
Bindra, a 2004 Athens Olympics finalist, scored a superb 597 in the preliminary round and shot a 102.1 in the final round. With this, Bindra also qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics (joining Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Anjali Bhagwat, Manavjit Singh and Gagan Narang).
"I'm thrilled. I just spoke to my mom in Chandigarh and my entire family is thrilled," Bindra told HT from Zagreb. "I've worked hard and have got the results."
What makes success sweeter is that Bindra has been fighting a back injury that forced him out of some events. He will soon go in for a surgery, and then for the next target: Olympic gold.