Beijing: World champion Abhinav Bindra clinched India's first ever individual gold medal at the Olympics, winning 10m air rifle event at the Beijing Games here on Monday.
The 25-year-old, who qualified fourth for the event, shot an overall score of (596+104.5) 700.5 in a thrilling finale which went right down to the last shot. Bindra's historic feat makes him India's first-ever individual gold medallist, bettering the silver medal feat of double trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in Athens 2004.
"He is the best shooter in the world and I think his is a morale boosting feat for everyone in the contingent," a jubilant Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi said after Bindra's win. "We are all very happy. He is a very hardworking athlete.
The entire shooting contingent is celebrating. We are very proud of him and it is just the beginning," national coach Sunny Thomas said. "Abhinav is a very calm and composed guy and doesn't get very excited," Thomas added. Bindra, a Khel Ratna awardee, had earlier won the gold medal in 2002 Commonwealth Games in the pairs event and silver in the individual event.
Earlier, Gagan Narang had failed to qualify for the finals of the same event after falling short in the count-back. The silver in the event went to Chinese Zhu Qinan (699.7) while Finland's Henri Hakkinen (699.4) had to be content with a bronze.