Abhinav Bindra often stresses that the Olympics don’t come once in 4 years but it’s an everyday affair for the elite athletes. Speaking at India Today Conclave 2021 on Friday, the Beijing Olympics gold medalist highlighted how difficult it was to keep his emotions in check in the lead up to the final of the 10m Air Pistol event 13 years ago.

Bindra, known to be one of the best in the business when it comes to dealing with pressure at the biggest of the stages, shed light on how difficult it was for him to catch some sleep on the night before his shooting final at the Beijing Olympics.

Conclave 2021: Live Coverage

Bindra ended India’s wait for an individual Olympic gold medalist by winning the 10m Air Pistol final in Beijing 13 years ago. Neeraj Chopra, who gave him company by claiming gold in men’s javelin at the Tokyo Olympics, shared the stage with the legendary shooter when he was describing the struggle he had underwent to deal with the pre-event nervousness.

Abhinav Bindra had entered the Sydney Olympics as a teenager but he failed to qualify for the final. At Athens, he was one of India’s biggest medal hopes. He aced the qualification round but had a “meltdown” in the final. But Bindra did not repeat the mistakes in his 3rd attempt. He shot gold.

Bindra: Armed with self-respect and whiskey in Beijing

“Before I boarded the flight to my Olympics in Beijing, I was in Munich. I was checking out at my hotel, packing stuff and I looked at the mini-bar. I was not a drinker of sorts. But I looked at the mini-bar and saw two little miniature bottles of Jack Daniels. For whatever reason, I packed it in my toilet kit,” Bindra said at India Today Conclave 2021.

The night before my Olympic final, I was nervous, I couldn’t sleep, I was about to die.

“I went to my toilet kit and opened the two bottles. I drank them and then the next day, a gold medal! I was armed with self-respect and Jack Daniels, who the hell could beat me on that day!

I have tried shooting, was not able to master it: Neeeraj

Neeraj Chopra told the panel on Friday that he didn’t do anything as adventurous as Bindra in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic final. However, the 23-year-old javelin star recalled the days when he tried his hand at shooting and said he was not able to master the art of hitting the bulls eye.

“I don’t know about other athletes, but shooters.. After drinking Jack Daniels, a gold medal is being won.
Every athlete has his different way. Shooting demands a lot of mental strength. It’s quite different from our game.

“Even track and field athletes need strong mental ability. Along with the physical strength, when you head to the Olympics, nervousness sets in.

“I have tried shooting. It needs a lot of control, mentally. I was not able to do it.”

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