India's only individual Olympic Games gold medallist, rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, has said that winning the country's elusive medal "created a very large void in my life" and that his biggest mental crisis came post the 2008 grand success.
The 10m air rifle marksman said that dealing with success was the hardest thing in his life and he entertained thoughts of quitting the sport after achieving success at the Beijing Olympics.
"Absolutely, I think that during a course of my career, I had a long career in sport, I had many ups and downs. You know, it's pretty ironic that my biggest mental crisis in my life came when I actually succeeded," 38-year-old Bindra said in a YouTube interview for Mind Matters.
"For me, dealing with success was probably the hardest time in my life. Up until Beijing when I had my greatest victory, I had trained for 16 years of life with a singular goal and I wanted to win a gold medal at the Olympics," he said.
Bindra admitted that he didn't know what to do after winning the gold.
"One fine day, this dream was achieved but it created a very large void in my life. I think that to me was very challenging. I was depressed and I was really lost. I did not know what to do with my life. That was probably the toughest moment of my life. My energies were depleted and it took a lot out of me to win. But more than anything, when you are goalless, you are listless in your life," he added.
The 2006 world champion said that he "reached out for professional help" to overcome the crisis.
"But post my victory in Beijing, I actually wanted to quit sport and move on to something else in life. I decided that I will go on a 110-day silent retreat where I wanted to find myself," said Bindra.
On his decision to quit after the 2016 Rio Olympics at a young age, when shooters are known to excel even in their late 40s, Bindra said: "I was at peace with my decision. I left my sport when I knew I had nothing more to give. From that day to this particular day, I have never gotten back to the shooting range."
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