Shooter Abhinav Bindra’s first coach Lt Col JS Dhillon (retd), under whom the Olympic champion took his lessons as a rookie in 1995, said that he was satisfied with his ward’s performance over the last two decade of his shooting career.
“I am disheartened that Abhinav could not win his second Olympic medal and missed it by a whisker, yet I am satisfied. He has always given 100 per cent. There is disappointment, but he has given his best. It was his hard luck that he got eliminated in the shot-off to eventually finished fourth,” said Dhillon, who watched the match at his home in Chandigarh.
Lt Col Dhillon said Abhinav’s contribution to shooting has been tremendous and he should not be judged by his today’s performance where he missed the medal by a narrow margin.
“Abhinav has motivated the Indian sportspersons to think that they can also win an Olympic gold. I have always told everyone that what he has given to Indian sports, and particularly to Indian shooting, is tremendous. He should be recognised for what he has achieved and given to the sport, rather than what he couldn’t do. Today was not his day, but he is leaving the Olympic stage on a fighting note,” said Dhillon.
Himself a veteran shooter, Dhillon is the one who initiated the Olympic hero into shooting 13 years ago.
“It was on July 13, 199, that 13-year-old Abhinav came to me for his first lesson. I could see the spark in the boy’s eyes...he used to practice for seven-to-eight hours a day and would never miss any practice session,” recalled Dhillon with moist eyes.
The humble champion
But more than the success, it’s Abhinav’s humbleness that has floored Dhillon.
His relation with his first coach Dhillon always remained intact and whenever he was at home --- Bindra Farms in Mohali --- he would call him and trained in his presence.
“In 2008 he became an Olympic champion. Still, whenever, he was at home, he insisted on training for a full 60 shots and he would call me to witness those sessions,” the coach added.
“He is not only a world-class shooter, but also a gem of a person,” he concludes.