New Delhi, July 24 | India’s only individual gold medallist at the Olympics, former 10m air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, sent a heart-warming message to weightlifter Mirabai Chanu after her silver-medal performance in Tokyo, saying she was one of the only who had “experienced the elation” and that it was a reward for her “years of hard work and single-minded determination”.
Bindra, winner of the air rifle gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was among the first to congratulate Mirabai on her historic achievement, saying, “Your outstanding performance in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is sure to be remembered as one of the best by an Indian athlete at the Olympic Games and shall also serve as an inspiration for generations to come.”
Bindra, who last competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics missing the bronze by a whisker, added that, “In over a hundred years of our nation’s participation in the Games, only a special few have managed to experience the elation of standing at the podium. It Is a reward for years of hard work and single-minded determination spent on perfecting your craft. All the sacrifices you made in your quest to bring glory to the nation will make this incredible milestone even sweeter.”
Bindra, who experienced the highs of winning the yellow medal 13 years back, said, “I would also like to congratulate your family, friends, and coaching staff, who I am sure would have been there to provide unflinching support and encouragement at every stage. The journey to becoming the best in the world is rarely if ever, undertaken alone, and I assure you that more than the laurels, you will remember fondly the moments you shared with your team and the camaraderie you developed with your fellow competitors.”
Bindra said that sportsperson like Mirabai had endured extreme difficulties during training due to the pandemic and added that such victories will serve as small reminders of the “joy that hope and perseverance can bring”.
“This is one of the many powers of sport. It brings us together, drives us forward, and leaves us with an incorruptible spirit of togetherness. It continues to bring us new heroes, new stories, and also serves as a great healer. During these rough times of the pandemic, when lives have come to an abrupt halt and mere survival has become an isolating task, victories such as yours will serve as a small reminder of the joy that hope and perseverance can bring.
“While medals cannot be a measure of your happiness or define who you are as a person, the feeling of living up to the expectations of a billion people is something that shall drive you for a Jong time to come. You are an inspiration to us all and I am positive that you will use your status as an Olympic medallist to promote the values of Olympism — friendship, respect, and excellence — as you move towards the next phase of your journey.”