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India shooter Abhinav Bindra wins Olympic gold medal

Abhinav Bindra BEIJING -- I'll confess. This is a shameless effort to drive traffic to latimes.com.

There are 1.1 billion people in India, more people than in any other country besides China, and a lot of them get their news from the Internet. So why shouldn't they come here to read about Abhinav Bindra, the first gold medalist ever from India in an individual sport?

Besides, it's a pretty good story to know about even if you're not from India.

Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal Monday in the 10-meter air rifle competition. He is 25 years old, comes  from Chandigarh, wears glasses and is ranked merely 17th in the world. He was in fourth place before the final round.

But what makes the story really interesting is that India, in its 108-year Olympic history, had little to show for it in individual sports other than three silver medals, two in 1900 and one in 2004.

It has won eight field hockey gold medals, but none since 1980.  If cricket were an Olympic sport, it would have won more than a few of those. But as Indian tennis player Leander Paes told Bloomberg News, "Cricket is a religion, it's not a sport.''

Thus, Bindra was heavenly honored Monday when the Board of Control for Cricket in India rewarded him with a $59,000 bonus.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Gold medalist Abhinav Bindra of India. Credit: Valery Hache / AFP / Getty Images

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Comments (7)

Mr. Harvey - Don't forget about Leander Paes winning the bronze medal in mens singles tennis in 1996.

Mr Harvey is quite correct in his assesment that the lack of Olympics gold medal for India is mainly due its Cricket cult. Abhinav himself said today that he hopes his success would bring about greater support for the developmen of Olympic sport in India.I think the Government should pass a law in which the it takes 50% of BCCI's revenues and channels it into other sports.

Abhinav Bindra's gold medal will have an epoch making influence in Indian sports. At least now we should divert our attention and policies towards sports other than cricket, so that India will achieve more gold medals in Olympics.

Abhinav Bindra's gold medal will have an epoch making influence in Indian sports

Dear ,
HaI brother Abhinav Bindra congratulations...........

devi d/o kannan

Our National Flag in the middle, going upwards with our National Anthem was a great feeling for everyone of us. Abhinav Bindra is the biginner for this generation, we want more beginners like Abhinav for next generations and to honour the new face for sports in our Indian society.
Our govt should help these sport heroes when they are struggling not when they have won



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