Beijing, Aug 11 (IANS) The Indian national anthem was played at an Olympics venue after 28 years as shooter Abhinav Bindra made history here Monday, winning the country its first individual Olympic gold medal. The last time India had won a gold medal at the Olympics was the hockey gold at 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
The 25-year-old bespectacled shooter showed nerves of steel as he scored 104.5 in the final to add to his 596 in the qualifier for a total of 700.5 points that gave him the coveted gold.
That composure gave way to a couple of blinks as he stood at attention while “Jana Gana Mana” was played and the Indian tricolour went up at the shooting range hall of the Beijing Olympics.
Bindra, the 2006 World Champion, claimed the gold ahead of China’s Qinan Zhu, who won the silver with a tally of 699.7 points (597 in the qualifier + 102.7 in the final). Finnish shooter Henri Hakkinen got the bronze with 699.4 points ( 598+100.4).
“It is a proud moment for me and a victoy for India. Olympic sports is not given priority in India. I hope now the focus will be on Olympic sports in the country,” Bindra told reporters at the Shooting Range Hall moments after the medal presentation ceremony.
Bindra finished fourth in the qualification round and his compatriot Gagan Narang narrowly missed the final as he finished ninth. After the qualifying round, Narang was tied with five shooters but failed to make into the top eight on the basis of back count.