Abhinav Bindra’s grace under pressure the biggest lesson for India’s shooters

Q&A session of Abhinav Bindra (on screen), with the Indian national shooting squad (foreground) at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting range
Q&A session of Abhinav Bindra (on screen), with the Indian national shooting squad (foreground) at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting range (PC: NRAI/X)

There was a tweet yesterday morning from the NRAI X handle which showed the great Abhinav Bindra addressing India’s best shooters, including almost all those who have earned the quota for Paris. Bindra was seen speaking on a live link to the shooters about his own experiences, and imparting lessons which should hold them in good stead in Paris. Under normal circumstances, there is nothing much to read in the tweet. Abhinav is the greatest shooter India has produced, and it was natural that he was roped in to speak to the shooters.

He is anyway mentoring a number of them, like Sift Kaur Samra and Rudrankksh Patil. However, when we were told that he was actually speaking from an ICU cabin, the one next to where his father has been recuperating in Chandigarh for the last seven days, you tended to sit up and take notice. How was it possible, and how could he deliver such an inspiring speech (based on reports from the athletes who heard him) when he was mentally at his worst the last few days? How could he agree to fulfil the commitment under such pressure? And what does it take to do so when faced with such an acute family emergency?

Ask him, and he doesn’t take more than a second to settle the debate. “My father has always taught me to honour a commitment,” said Abhinav. “He would feel good that I was able to do so. I couldn’t travel to Delhi physically, but I could still do what I did virtually from the ICU cabin.”

Not without reason is he considered one of the greatest in the realm of Indian sport. For him, sport has never been about winning medals or breaking records. “My Olympic gold medal doesn’t define me,” says Abhinav. “I am not once saying it is not important. It surely is. It has given me my identity and helped me do what I am doing. But it doesn’t define me. What defines me is how I am as a human being and that has been shaped by what lessons I have learnt from sport.”

For the Latest Sports News: Click Here


To invest in the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP), invest in the well-being of kids in Odisha and Assam, and make a difference to their lives using the lessons learnt from sport, and to speak to the nation’s best shooters when your father is in the ICU defines Abhinav and his legacy. Anyone who listens to such a champion is certain to feel inspired. Learn from his experiences and benefit from his suggestions. Fair to say that the NRAI has requested the best to address the shooters and get them ready.

To leave you with what Bindra has always said about handling pressure. “You can best deal with pressure by first accepting that there is pressure,” he says. “You need to be aware of the Olympic stage and then come to terms with it. You don’t do well at an Olympic Games by all of a sudden waking up and thinking: ‘Oh, this is the Olympics and I need to do well.’ It is also not right to think you won’t feel the pressure. You absolutely will and it is natural to do so. That’s why it is about acceptance. Only when you accept that there is pressure can you come to terms with it, and subsequently figure out a way of dealing with it.”

In dealing with his father’s illness, Abhinav has done the same. He knows that he is not at his best mentally. He is aware that there is a crisis at hand. And having accepted the situation, he has tried to figure out ways of dealing with it. It isn’t easy. Can never be. But that’s the only way you get a grip on things, and continue to do your work in the manner that he did on Sunday.

Also Read: Delhi win the match, Dhoni remains king of hearts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *