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It was an empty feeling on the podium: Abhinav
Onkar Singh in Delhi | August 14, 2008 19:48 IST
Whether it is a gold, silver or bronze, the joy of just winning an Olympic medal is always writ large on the medallist's face.
But that was not the case with Abhinav Bindra [Images]. India's first individual Olympic gold medallist was pokerfaced as he proudly stood atop the podium during the presentation ceremony for the 10 metre Air Rifle event on Monday.
Asked the reason for the strange behaviour in his moment of glory, the 25-year-old replied: "It was a sort of emptiness."
Addressing a press conference in Delhi [Images] on Thursday afternoon, after returning from Beijing [Images], Abhinav said he "felt good about winning the gold medal" for his country, but there was an "emptiness" in him.
"I have represented my country thrice in the Olympics [Images], but once you achieve the goal you set yourself for a long time, you tend to think what next," he said.
"In sport someone wins and someone loses. By the grace of God, it proved to be my day. Things fell in place as they should have. I know I did not celebrate in true Sikh style by doing the Bhangra. But that is the way I am," he added.
Despite a hectic schedule in the morning, during which he met with President Partibha Patil, Abhinav was relaxed and composed.
He expressed hope that his feat would inspire other sportspersons.
Replying to a question, he said there is a vast difference between how Indian and foreign athletes prepare for international meets.
"Every country has a serious Olympic programme; we do not have one. It is something that really needs to be worked upon," he said.
So what's next on his shooting agenda?
''I just want a break now. I haven't slept for last five days," he concluded.
While Abhinav addressed the media, his father A S Bindra and mother Babli sat amongst the media and watched their son handle questions thrown at him with aplomb.
Dr Bindra said he was tense while watching the last shots being fired by the contenders in the final.
Recalling those last few moments of the round, he said: "I said Sache Patshah [Almighty] give him [Abhinav] strength to pull through. And he did, by scoring 10.8 with his last shot. I and my wife thanked the Almighty and soon celebrations began."
"Now I have dedicated my son to the nation. Now he is a son to someone and brother to someone else," he added.
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