India's only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra has announced that he will retire on August 8th rom competitive shooting, after, hopefully, winning another medal at the Rio Olympics.
Bindra, who was on Friday named the country's flag bearer for the upcoming Rio Games, made the announcement on Twitter. The Beijing Olympics champ had been in semi-retirement after the 2014 Asiad and was only a hobby shooter with the purpose of qualifying for Rio Olympics.
Rio is going to be the fifth Olympic appearance for the 33-year-old, who clinched the gold in the men's 10 metre air rifle event in Beijing in 2008.
As my sporting career which lasted 20 years draws to a close on the 8 th of August , this is indeed special.— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) June 10, 2016
I am sure the Indian Olympic Team would have the support of over a billion people as we march into the Rio Olympic Stadium.— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) June 10, 2016
To be the flag bearer at the Olympic Games is an athletes ultimate honor.I am humbled & grateful to be considered worthy of this great honor— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) June 10, 2016
He thanked the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for choosing him as flag bearer on the micro-blogging site. The ace shooter also added that the curtains would come down on his two-decade-old career after the men's 10 metre air rifle event ends in Rio on August 8.
"To be the flag bearer at the Olympic Games is an athletes ultimate honour. I am humbled & grateful to be considered worthy of this great honour," Bindra wrote.
He also posted, "I am sure the Indian Olympic Team would have the support of over a billion people as we march into the Rio Olympic Stadium."
"As my sporting career which lasted 20 years draws to a close on the 8th of August , this is indeed special," he added.
The former World Champion is also one of the goodwill ambassadors of the Indian contingent for the Rio Games and is working towards inspiring the athletes to give their best in the Brazilian city this summer.
The decorated Indian shooter had in 2014 created a flutter by retiring from professional shooting.
The Olympic champion had at the time said that the 10m air rifle event in the Incheon Asian Games 2014 would be his last. he though had added a caveat that even though his resume was "complete", he would still give his best to be to in 2016 Rio Games for one last time.
Bindra had ended up winning the individual and team bronze in 10m air rifle in his last Asiad.
Bindra had taken to the world of 140 characters on September 22, 2014: "Tomorrow will mark the end of my professional shooting life ! I will however still shoot , compete as a hobby shooter training twice a week."
Yet at the same time, his Twitter handle continued to carry the status: "2016 Olympic medal wannabe".
Two minutes later another tweet followed: "And yes I will still try to be at rio and my bio is now most appropriate ! Great times and am sure there will be a few more !"
So, Bindra had actually become a hobby shooter at that time training with the aim of winning a medal at Rio!
Abhinav Bindra's career highs
Gold: 2008 Beijing (10m Air Rifle individual)
Gold: 2006 Zagreb (10m Air Rifle individual)
Gold: 2002 Manchester (10m Air Rifle pairs)
Silver: 2002 Manchester (10m Air Rifle individual)
Gold: 2006 Melbourne (10m Air Rifle pairs)
Bronze: 2006 Melbourne (10m Air Rifle individual)
Gold: 2010 New Delhi (10m Air Rifle pairs)
Silver: 2010 New Delhi (10m Air Rifle individual)
Gold: 2014 Glasgow (10m Air Rifle individual)
Silver: 2010 Guangzhou (10m Air Rifle team)