As the national anthem played and the Indian tricolour rose high when Abhinav Bindra received India's first individual Olympic gold medal in Beijing on Monday, euphoria erupted in college canteens and office cubicles back home.
Anjan Katna, who works with Emergent Ventures in Gurgaon in the capital's outskirts, said the entire office broke into loud applause as soon as they saw the news about Bindra's success being flashed on TV channels in the morning.
“It's amazing! Ever since the Beijing Olympics have begun, I have been watching the news and taking all the updates, hoping to see India in the forefront in some sport. Monday began on a very good note with Bindra winning the country's first individual gold,” Katna told IANS.
Katna and his colleagues are planning to have a party in the evening to celebrate the shooter's success.
“We got gold!” screamed an excited Devyani Chatterjee, a freelance writer.
“It's a proud moment for all of us. We Indians tend to underestimate ourselves. I remember reading in a major news daily, just the day before the Olympics began, that India will get a medal, if lucky. Abhinav couldn't have done us more proud,” she said.
The last time India won an Olympic gold medal was the hockey win at 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Bindra, 24, showed he had nerves of steel as he scored 104.5 in the final to add to his 596 in the qualifier for a total of 700.5 points that gave him the coveted gold in the 10-metre air rifle competition.
For Prakash Sharma, a teacher, Bindra's success is a reminder of the excitement that he felt when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the country's first individual silver in men's double trap shooting event in the 2004 Olympics.
“This, hopefully, should just be the beginning. I am hoping for another gold from Rathore,” he said.
Shagufta Nasreen, a Delhi University student, said Bindra's feat would boost the confidence of scores of young sportspersons in the country. Captain of her college tennis team, Nasreen should know what she's saying.
“I am so happy. Abhinav's success is an encouragement to scores of sportspersons like me. Like we were discussing in college on Monday morning, this feat shows us that if we are determined and hard working we can achieve anything,” Nasreen said.