Bindra Shoots Into Indian Sporting Folklore With Olympic Gold

Abhinav Bindra from Chandigarh  fired himself into Indian sporting history by ending his country’s 108-year wait for an individual Olympic gold medal. The 25-year-old shooter from Chandigarh won the men’s 10- meter air rifle event at the Beijing Games today, coming from behind to beat defending champion Zhu Qinan of China and Henri Hakkinen of Finland in the final round. Bindra captured the nation of 1.1 billion people’s first Olympic gold medal since its men’s field hockey players won the last of their record eight titles in 1980. In solo competitions, Bindra starts the Indian roll of honor. “We now have an Olympic icon,” Suresh Kalmadi, president of the Indian Olympic Association, said in a phone interview in Beijing. “To hear the national anthem was a very, very important moment of my life.” India’s best individual performances at previous Olympics were the sprinting and hurdling silver medals of Norman Pritchard at the 1900 Paris Games, International Olympic Committee records show. Trap shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore also won silver in Athens four years ago.

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