August 14, 2008 / 8:16 AM / in 9 years

Abhinav Bindra says rifle sights changed

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Shooter Abhinav Bindra, India’s first solo gold medallist, found his rifle sights had changed in the lead up to the finals in Beijing, an official said on Thursday.

Olympic men's 10m air rifle gold medalist Abhinav Bindra displays his gold medal upon his arrival as his mother Babli Bindra (R) watches on at the airport in New Delhi August 14, 2008. REUTERS/Parth Sanyal

Bindra discovered the rear sights in his rifle badly out of alignment during training before the final shootout after leaving his weapon to go to the toilet, local media reported.

“Yes, he told us after the final, but I told him ‘even if someone had done it you should forget it now that you have won’,” National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary-general Baljit Singh Sethi told Reuters.

The 25-year-old shooter arrived home early on Thursday to a hero’s welcome after clinching the 10m air rifle gold medal.

Sethi said it was a needless controversy while the nation was celebrating the rare Olympic success. He said the federation did not plan to launch any investigation.

“Once you get a medal, it should be forgotten,” he said.

“Something like this happening is very, very rare and even if it has, it is difficult to prove,” Sethi, also the contingent’s deputy Chef de Mission, said from Beijing.

Entry was restricted to the area where shooters kept their weapons during competition, he said.

Bindra found his first practice shot considerably off target, his personal mental trainer Amit Bhattacharjee said.

“When Abhinav fired the first shot in the sighting time, it hit the target between the fourth and fifth rings,” he told Hindustan Times. “It is unthinkable of any shooter competing at this level to score 4.5 points.”

Bindra attended receptions by India’s president and prime minister after a large number of people and media were present when he arrived around 1 a.m.

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