What turned Abhinav Bindra into a fearless young shooter ready to take on the world? In the final leg of preparations, the Chandigarh-based marksman was battling a confidence crisis.
“He was under tremendous mental stress in the final leg of preparations and, in order to have a mind without fear, we enrolled him for a special confidence-building session in Germany,” said his father AS Bindra.
Before taking off for Beijing on August 1, the Olympic champion underwent a five-day programme in Germany from July 27 to 31 to overcome the extreme levels of stress, the fallout of intensive preparation.
The world champion went through different sets of exercise like climbing an eight-metre high wall, crossing a Burma bridge, overcoming hurdles like a pizza platform, a high-bar balance, spider web jumps and a U-swing bridge which helped him overcome fear of failure and infused new confidence in him.
“As the Olympics were approaching, he was getting stressed out. So, to reduce that, Abhinav’s German coach Uwe Riesterer decided to include confidence-building sessions in his training,” said the senior Bindra.
“When the idea of including these sessions was mooted, I was a bit nervous as I thought a lot of risk was involved. But he assured me about the safety aspect and finally he completed the training successfully,” he added.
“In the first week of July, Abhinav requested his coach to find ways which would help him overcome mental and physical stress. Initially, the idea was to try bungee jumping, skydiving and extreme stunt flights. But gauging the level of risk involved, the idea was dropped. Later, we decided to go for confidence-building sessions.
“In the beginning Abhinav was defensive and reluctant initially,” Riesterer said from Beijing. “But he did it. I am happy he faced challenges with a positive frame of mind and with lots of confidence.”