CHANDIGARH: Abhinav Bindra, who has made India proud by winning the country's first individual Olympics gold at Beijing 2008, is a shy, introvert but very focused on his aims, according to his parents, teachers and friends.
"He was an all-rounder and topped in class 12 in commerce stream in the school. Though he was more dedicated to shooting, he never ignored his studies because of his stiff training schedules," recalled Harold Carver, principal of the St. Stephen's School, Chandigarh, where Abhinav studied.
"He was a shy and introvert boy, but very focused and disciplined to attain his aim right from the very beginning of his school days. He was a good finalist and knows how to hold his nerves in tough situations," Carver said on Monday.
The school played a major role in bringing out the real sportsman out of Abhinav. His mother Babli Bindra said: "The school was very supportive, even his principal rescheduled the board exams of class 12 by convincing education board authorities to allow him to participate in the world championship at Sydney."
"As a son, he never demanded anything from us. In fact, we have to force him to buy anything. He has only one love and that is shooting, and for that he has got a world-class shooting range built at our farm and practises there for hours," said a proud Babli.
Abhinav who will turn 26 next month had started learning shooting at the age of 13. Before the Beijing Olympics, he had gone to South Africa and Germany for special training in shooting and to undergo confidence-building sessions.
"I have seen him practising continuously for 12 to 14 hours a day. He was never distracted when relatives or friends visited his farmhouse. He keeps on practising alone in his shooting range. There is a proper time-table and he religiously follows it," said K.S. Nalwa, the shooter's cousin.
Abhinav's childhood friend Ranjit Bajaj said: "I had hoped of a medal for Abhinav in the last two Olympics but this time we were keeping our fingers crossed. And even Abhinav went with an open mind, as he told me that he just wanted to give his best and rest depends on the god's grace."
Abhinav has been a very sincere and helpful friend but has only one priority that he will not set aside and that is to practice, practice and practice, Ranjit added.
Along with his shooting practice, Abhinav has also managed to complete his master's in business administration (MBA) from the University of Colorado, US. "He has also started taking interest in his father's business and intends to join it very soon," his mother said.