It was on this day shooter Abhinav Bindra scripted history. He became the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in individual events. And 12 years later, India is still looking to replicate Abhinav Bindra's achievement.
Though India had a long history of participation in Olympic shooting events but did not get to see an Olympic medal in the event till the Games traveled to Athens in 2004 where Rajyavardhan Singh won the country's first-ever shooting medal in Olympic Games. Abhinav was close to a medal but failed to hold his nerve in the final after a superb performance in earlier elimination rounds.
Putting behind the pain of missing the Olympic medal at Athens by a whisker, Abhinav did not give up and returned to Beijing, determined with nerves of steel, to give India what it had been waiting for since its official debut in the Games in 1928.
On the personal front, I was fortunate to witness both Rajyavardhan Singh winning the country's first-ever shooting medal in the Olympic games in 2004 and then Abhinav Bindra taking home country's first-ever individual Olympic gold. My report in The Tribune tagged to this story is self-explanatory.
The country had burst into celebrations after Abhinav Bindra's historic gold triumph. Within hours of his scripting history, the demand for felicitating him with Bharat Ratna got overwhelming support. As usual, the demand met its own end as no follow-up action was taken by either the government or the bodies controlling sports in the country. Many promises and announcements made in the heat of the golden moments remained in paper only. Intriguingly, the country has forgotten all about Abhinav's unique and unprecedented achievement.