No formulae for victory may have been circulated but Abhinav Bindra and Pullela Gopi Chand held a young audience in rapt attention at the GoSports Foundation Athletes’ Conclave here on Wednesday, recalling their own journeys from ordinary kids to champions.

The Conclave — a day-long event that also included sessions on nutrition, equipment, commercial aspects, and media interaction — drew some 83 athletes from various disciplines.

Bindra spoke of how he went from being a normal boy “who was neither talented nor athletic” to winning Olympic gold. The 30-year-old described his obsession for improvement and his transformation out of “niceness”. “Regular, gentle and polite does not win matches,” he said. “I needed ‘killer instinct’, a ‘me vs. you all’ type of mental toughness.”

Bindra touched on his disappointment after failure in the 2004 Olympics, when his preparation had been optimal. “Once in four years, you get the chance to shoot the best you can for two hours. That’s it. If you haven’t done it then, you begin all over again,” he said. He had then “slogged his guts out”, the shooter added, to earn the gold in the 10m air rifle in Beijing in 2008.

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