CARNOUSTIE: Abhinav Bindra still wanders like a man possessed. His haunting eyes, his poker-faced looks and his lackadaisical demeanour make him both intriguing and enigmatic. Even before he took the last shot of his Commonwealth Games, he already had the gold in his kitty.
As the sound of the last shot died in staccato, there was a brief Bindra-ish celebration (a simple pump of the fist and a little wave to the stands). He relaxed momentarily, resting himself on the rifle and its stand, before walking out of the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre.
Bangladesh shooter Abdullah Baki tried to be affable while congratulating Bindra, but the latter seemed to be in a trance. He walked disinterestedly towards the mixed zone and after a few quotes here and there, he stopped for the motley crew of Indian journalists who had gathered to speak to him.
And like always, he smiled, accepted the adulations and paused to be asked about his feat. He was brief and his laconic conversations were punctuated with one-liners — as if he were attending a ritual that he abhors.
Bindra, never to be bogged down by pressure, not at least at the Commonwealth Games, was consistent throughout. Bindra’s final score read 205.3, 3.3 points ahead of Baki. England’s Daniel Rivers finished third after a shoot-off with India’s Ravi Kumar (in pic).
If you are looking for happiness or excitement written on his face, Bindra will have none. Whether he was happy to end his Commonwealth career at the age of 32 with gold, his answer was: “Yes.” On his calmness, he said: “I am like this. Should I be jumping around or shouting around?”
As to his last Games, he said: “After nine medals and five Commonwealth Games, I thought I should be retiring,” he said. “I have streaks of grey in my hair.” Bindra’s first gold was in Manchester (2002).
Whether we would see him in Rio (Olympics), he said, “I don’t look so far ahead. I just take it one competition at a time.” Whether that too would be his last Games, he said: “It’s too far ahead.”
With the World Championships just around the corner, Bindra would now turn his focus on the event. “I will now think about the World Championships and later the Asian Games,” he said, with a surprise smile.
At times, Bindra can lighten up the mood as well. When asked if he would like to take up any particular profession after retirement, he said: “Maybe, I will become a journalist. I like this profession.” Whether it was in jest or not, his face did not reveal.
When asked if he would like to do anything else, he said he was not too talented a guy but maybe got lucky to win medals. “I am not a brainy guy and I don’t think I am too talented either,” he said. Bindra, however, felt India has the potential and someone would take his place and dominate like the way he did.