HEADLINES:
October 20 2017
Abhinav Bindra reveals drama in Rio climax
08 August 2017

Former champion recounts narrow miss in updated version of his book

Former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, who missed a medal by an agonising margin of 0.1 point at Rio last year, has added two chapters to his book A Shot At History to capture the untold drama that he endured in his bid to capture a second Olympic medal.

A medal could have been a befitting climax for a man who pursued perfection with all the energy and resources, but considering what he went through, it was a telling end to a career in which Bindra always placed all the emphasis on the process than the results.

Most of us knew that the fourth place, when he lost the shoot-off for a medal after being tied, must have hurt him hard, even though he put up a brave front for the world and called it a “closure.”

What few knew was the fact that Bindra had to visit many experts in his attempt to control “epileptic seizures.” In a sport where standing still is the mark of a champion, Bindra had to battle with the ‘quiver’ for long and enrich his achievements with his first Commonwealth Games gold in 2014. “It is a victory meaningful to me in ways I can’t really explain,” he writes in the book. He followed that up with his first Asian Games individual medal before the Rio experience.

Even during the most testing of times, Abhinav was careful with his medicines. “I am desperate and yet I am very cautious. Every substance that goes into my body is very carefully checked. I know the WADA code and I deeply respect its struggle for clean sport. If something goes into my body which shouldn’t be there, I can’t blame doctors, physios, agents, parents. It will be my fault,” writes Bindra in the book that is all set to hit the stands.

He went to Dr. Muller-Wohlfahrt in Germany to get about 15 injections of homoeopathic medicine into his spine. He saw Usain Bolt twice at the clinic.

Even though he did not take the National federation into confidence, Bindra kept the Chairman of the ISSF medical committee, Dr. James M. Lally in the loop about his medical condition. He sought a precautionary Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for a year from May 2014 to May 2015, “purely for safety purposes.”

After considering whether to divulge it all in the book, Abhinav chose to put everything on record. “I have never been scared of life or failure or challenge or people’s lazy opinions. I don’t care if people look at me differently. I only asked myself, is it worth sharing? The answer was yes,” he says in the book, .

Bindra puts it in his inimitable style, without seeking sympathy or resorting to any indirect excuse. “I come fourth only because I am not good enough for third”, he writes. With the decimal scoring in the qualification phase in the Rio Olympic cycle providing a new twist to the pursuit of medals, Bindra recalls, how he was “trying to improve on every shot by a distance smaller than a human hair.” Eventually, it was ironical that he lost by less than the width of a hair.

“In the 2008 Olympic final I am tied after the ninth shot and shoot a 10.8 and win gold. Here, in 2016, I shoot a 10.0, Serhiy Kulish shoots a 10.5. No medal.” he writes, capturing the vagaries of the sport, where four years of work are decided by a single shot. “Proximity to a medal is both a privilege and painful,” Bindra concludes.

Rohit Brijnath, who has helped Abhinav Bindra in narrating his journey, has come up with superb prose.

 

 

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