When Abhinav Bindra was invited to the dais on Tuesday, he walked with the poise of a champion before leaning back onto the couch with a reassuring calm.
It was similar to that fateful day in August 2008 in Beijing, when Bindra earned India its first individual Olympic gold medal in 108 years by shooting 10.8 in the deciding shot to clinch the 10 meter air rifle event. Apart from the hugs and an odd fist pump, the emotions on display were not in abundance.
After all, the best sportspersons in the world are either reserved or extravagant. Bindra does not wear his heart on his sleeve like a Virat Kohli or a Wayne Rooney. He does not allow the emotions to get the better of him, maintaining a saint-like composure and confidence.
But how easy would it be to digest that this image of Bindra is simply an illusion? Suddenly, as Bindra is talking, that the 30-year-old from Chandigarh is human too comes to the fore. "When people say I'm calm, it is all wrong. I am extremely nervous and hyper as a person," he reveals, with a stutter.
A global champion is expected to be brimming with self-confidence, aware of what is required at the crucial moments. However, a new facet to Bindra continues to emerge. “With me there is only self doubt,” claims Bindra.
Despite the shortcomings, Bindra manages to remain a step ahead of the rest. And it does not fall in place without the extra efforts. "I keep my quality of training so high because I know my performance may fall during the event. But it will drop only to such a level that it is still good enough. Importantly, you have to be ready to suffer. You need the will to win.”