The Dehradun born Punjabi got meteoric success when he bagged the gold in 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was India’s first individual gold, a gold for India after 20 years. He became the first Indian to simultaneously hold the title of the World Champion and the Olympic Champion.
Expounding on his other International accomplishments, he has golds for the 2006 ISSF world championship, 2002 Manchester games(10m Air rifle pairs) , 2006 Melbourne games(10m Air rifle pairs) , 2010 Delhi games and 2014 Glasgow games. Silvers in his collection being from 2002 Manchester games (10m Air rifle singles), 2010 Delhi games (10m Air Rifle singles) and the last one from 2010 Asian games (10m Air rifle team). He also has 3 bronze medals, the first one from 2006 Melbourne games (10m Air rifle singles) and the other two include his latest additions from 2014 Incheon Asian Games (10m Air rifle single and Men’s 10m Air Rifle).
Not only these, he was noted for his extraordinary marksmanship from a young age of 15, when he became the youngest participant in the 1998 Common Wealth Games. Continuing his feat in the 2001 Munich games, he made a new junior world record for his outstanding score of 597/600. He also went on to become the youngest participant in the 2000 Olympic Games.
As a young lad of 18 he was already honored with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the prestigious Arjuna award. Toting up on his achievements, he broke the Olympic record in the 2004 Athens Olympics, despite which he couldn’t score a medal. He had to drop out of the 2006 Asian Games due to his back injury.
Suffering from this injury for a whole year, he wasn’t able to lift rifle which upset his preparations for the Bejing Olympics, still beating all odds, he seized the day.
Getting back on the recent events, On Monday (21st September 2014) he stated “tomorrow will mark the end of my professional shooting life”. Though frowning a lot of spectators across the globe he has left us with a hope that he would give his best for the 2016 Rio Olympics. For that, the entire country wishes him the best and hope that he will once again rewrite history.
Outside his shooting life, he holds a BBA from the University of Colorado. Also he is the CEO of Abhinav Futuristics, the sole distributor of Walther arms in India and has number of sponsorships including Samsung and BSNL.
All the same , he will remain India’s most decorated Athlete of his time and will continue to inspire millions of others who will compete in the future.