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Bindra's gun was tampered with before final, says official

August 13, 2008 19:12 IST

The Indian camp in Beijing [Images] went into a tizzy on Wednesday following reports that Abhinav Bindra's [Images] gun sights were tampered with before Monday's 10m Air Rifle final at the Olympics [Images].

Though the Chandigarh-based marksman went on to win the country's first individual Olympic gold medal, top officials with the Indian contingent in Beijing said there was a possibility of the allegation being true.

Deputy Chef de Mission Baljit Singh Sethi, also the secretary-general of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), said the gun sights were altered before the final, and it was only because of Bindra's unflappable nature that he could go on to win the medal.

''We did not know it, but after the final he told us that he found his gun sight altered. But he is a very cool boy and has lot of patience. Lesser mortals would have panicked, but he maintained his cool and went on to win the gold,'' Sethi said.

However, Indian Olympic Association secretary-general Randhir Singh, who is in Beijing as an International Olympic Council member and its observer for the shooting competition, said he did not receive any complaint about the incident.

''How can I react to something when there is no formal complaint about it,'' he said.

Bindra had earlier been quoted by a newspaper as saying that between the qualifying and final sessions he went to the rest room and his German coach, Gaby Buehlmann, also went out for a smoke, and that was probably the time when the unattended gun was fiddled with.

Sethi, however, added that there was no need to start a blame game. He said, ''I don't think that helps. Actually, you cannot blame anyone; it's your duty to take care of your gun.

"He was the only Indian to qualify, so there were shooters from other countries in that room.''

Asked if the team management lodged a complaint about the incident, Sethi replied, ''No, because it was his duty to attend to the gun. You cannot blame anyone for that.''

Shooting coach T S Dhillon also confirmed the incident, but added that it was not the first time that such a thing occured.

''It happened earlier also. In Abhinav's case, during the Sighter series, he was suddenly scoring as low as 4.2 before gradually the scores picked up. It took him 40 clicks to reach the centre stage. And he had just three minutes.

''It's another matter that he went on to defy the setback and win the gold, it only goes on to prove how good a shooter he is."

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