The first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games, shooter Abhinav Bindra will now be able to defend his 10m air rifle title at the 2012 London Olympics after the Bejing ‘08 gold medallist booked his spot for the quadrennial event in the year’s last World Cup at Munich, Germany, on Saturday.
After achieving the qualification mark, Bindra became the eighth Indian shooter to qualify for next year’s London Games.
“Before the event I’d set the target of securing my Olympic berth, and I am happy that I achieved it,” Abhinav Bindra told HT from Munich.
In the qualifying round, Bindra was one of nine shooters tied for eighth spot with a score of 596, however he upped him game in the shootout to qualify for the finals (top-eight).
After the final round, Bindra finished eighth overall with a total of 646.2. However, he still managed to qualify for the London Olympics, as the top six in the event had already qualified for the Games, and the two berths that were at stake in the Munich World Cup went to the shooters who finished seventh and eighth.
“Qualifying for the finals (of the World Cup) was the real challenge. There were nine shooters tied for only one spot. The pressure was enormous, but I am delighted that I handled it well and qualified for the London Games. Though my final standing was not great (eighth), I achieved my target,” said Bindra.
“Two years ago I was not even sure that I would continue with the sport. That makes me all the more happy to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. After returning home I will chalk out my plan for the Games.”
Bindra had failed to secure his sport in the earlier three World Cups this year and the Munich event was the second last chance to get an Olympics berth.
Asked if he was feeling the heat prior to the event, with his chances of qualifying for the Olympics in doubt, he said. “I wasn’t under any extra pressure, but sometimes pressure from outside my camp did disturb me. But, I am thankful to my coaches and specially Dr Amit Bhattacharjee for helping me out,” replied Bindra.
“For the last five days Abhinav was practicing a bio-mechanic technique on how to control the nervous system in pressure situations, and it helped him here,” said Bindra’s mental trainer Dr Bhattacharjee.