Monday, the 11th of August, and the World will never be the same for Abhinav Bindra. Seeing players outside of the Holy Grail of International Cricket, I have been witness to the trials and tribulations of your regular international high achievement sports star who can break records and do momentous feats in the arena of his chosen sport but cannot get the National Press to spare a line on their achievements.
The constant refrain among all the other sports is why we are not recognised for what we do despite the years of sweat and tears that we have sacrificed to achieve the pinnacle of sporting success. What does Sachin Tendulkar do to deserve so much fame and fortune when his road to success has perhaps followed the same route as any other sporting champion?
Abhinav may not have suffered the affliction of several less affluent sportsmen who had to endure several deprivations for monetary reasons, being the son of an immensely wealthy and indulgent father.
He was lucky enough to have the luxury of being able to concentrate on his sport and leave his father to worry about the bills. His father, recognising his potential for greatness, ensured no stone be left unturned to ensure his son’s quest for glory. If he needed a coach from Kazakhstan, he was found, and located on the princely estate in Zirakhpur, which is a testimony to the class and taste of this amazing family.
His father built him an Olympic size shooting range within the perimeter of his home so he could focus on his arduous practice sessions day after day without any disturbance. Abhinav’s goal was clear. Go for gold, proclaims his e-mail id boldly.
His father, the quintessential businessman, was, however, hugely frustrated. His point was here was a young boy who had every opportunity in the World but chose to spend his time in the quest of perfection and for whom there were constant struggles for reimbursement of bills and most painfully recognition even at the pinnacle of his achievement – the World championship.
Dr. Bindra was incredulous – no huge sponsorships despite him being a World champion? The frustration of this large-hearted man who craved to see his son getting the laurels he deserved was plain to see.
Sponsors were cynical. Why does Abhinav need the money? His father pays for everything he needs. Why, retorted Dr. Bindra, does Sachin Tendulkar get paid crores of rupees for brand associations? Doesn’t he have enough already?
Success could not have come to a better person. His face belied emotions even when at the culmination of 12 years of hard work he got what he wanted. His disposition is almost of an ascetic who is focused on achieving enlightenment.
And enlightenment it is for a billion-strong population that cringes in shame every time a sporting spectacle is held.
I hope Abhinav gets the recognition he deserves and it will be a proud day when we worship these true achievers along with our celluloid heroes and cricket stars.
(The author is Bindra’s manager)