Success can be a tough act to follow, says Abhinav Bindra

The former shooter had a word of advice on how to get back to the routine after achieving a certain dream.

By Rahul Venkat ·

On August 11, 2008, Abhinav Bindra created history when he shot a near-perfect 10.8 with his final shot to win a historic Olympic gold medal for India, it’s first individual gold.

The nation celebrated a truly remarkable feat from the Indian shooter and though he did not realize the magnitude of the achievement then, one would naturally expect him to soak in the euphoria following the medal ceremony.

However, not everything seemed right for Abhinav Bindra immediately after it – he had fulfilled a lifelong dream – and he did not know how to keep himself motivated anymore.

“Failure is difficult to handle but sometimes, success is tougher to deal with,” the gold medallist stated in the Tata Group’s Leader Craft podcast. “I had oriented 15 years of my life toward winning an Olympic gold and had achieved it when I was 25.

“It felt like there was a void in my life, it was challenging because I felt like I had to restart and I did feel a lack of motivation.”

Abhinav Bindra, who went to a silent retreat to introspect after the 2008 Olympics, urged athletes to give themselves time. “You start missing the process after a while, and as long as you love what you do, it will keep pushing you. That’s what happened to me,” he explained.

“When you achieve a dream, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years so to bounce back, you have to give yourself time and recharge your batteries to come back on course.”

The now-retired Indian shooting great, who mentors and helps young athletes through the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, had also backed sportspersons to get through the Tokyo Olympics postponement.

“I believe athletes -- not only in India but on the whole -- are the most resilient people I know and they will take this scenario, this challenge in a sporting way and rejig their plans,” the member of the IOC’s Athlete Commission had told the Olympic Channel in March.