11 August, 2008 remains a historic day in Indian sports. With a near-perfect 10.8, Abhinav Bindra took a shot at history as he became the first -- and to this date, the only Indian in history to clinch an individual Olympic gold medal.
In one of the most exhilerating displays in the finals of 10m air rifle, Bindra never dropped below the score of 10, ending up with then-highest score of 10.8 for the final shot in the event's history. He secured a top-podium finish with the final score of 104.5 - 1.8 higher than the silver medallist, Zhu Qinan of China.
More than the incredible scores, it was the moment when the Indian tri-colour was raised and the national anthem was played, which remains etched in the memory of the sport-loving population of the country. The moment has since been recalled on countless occasions, but its magic remains as unadulterated as it was on August 11, twelve years ago.
"I ended up shooting the best 10 shots in my life," Bindra had said while speaking about his achievement at the Beijing Olympics.
The shooter began his career at the age of 15 and was the youngest Indian athlete in the 2000 Sydney Olympics contingent. In the 2004 Athens Olympics, he had also set a new Olympic record in the qualifying round but the achievement largely went unacknowledged, as the medal remained a distant dream.
Bindra came close to securing another podium finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics too. However, he agonisingly finished fourth. This was his last appearance at the Games before he called time on a tremendous career.
Before Bindra's feat, India had won gold medals only in team sports - all of them came in men's field hockey. Incidentally, Bindra's was the last Olympic gold medal for the country.
In the two Olympic Games since, the Indian athletes secured podium finishes on eight occasions - six in London Olympics (2 silver, 4 bronze) and two in Rio Olympics (1 silver, 1 bronze).