Abhinav Bindra banks on young guns to hit bullseye in Tokyo

Abhinav Bindra, India’s first individual gold medallist at the Olympics, is banking on the younger crop to deliver the goods in Tokyo 2020.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Olympian shooter Abhinav Bindra inaugurate the Abhinav Bindra Target Performance (ABTP) complex at Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar.   -  PTI

It may have been excluded from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham but shooting still remains among India’s high hopes when it comes to building up on its Olympic medal count in Tokyo next year.

Abhinav Bindra, India’s first individual gold medallist, is banking on the younger crop to deliver the goods next year.

Despite the likes of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (silver in 2004), Bindra (gold in 2008), Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar (bronze and silver in 2012) keeping shooting among medals, a majority of India’s shooters are found to crumble under the pressure of the big occasion.

After all, Bindra, who retired as a shooter after the 2016 Olympic in Rio de Janeiro, was the closest to a medal among India’s 16 shooters.

“I think a lot has changed from Rio to now. If you look at what is happening, a lot of success is coming from the young generation. The youngsters of today are very different. Their mindset is very different, they are very competitive in nature right from the beginning and I think that is an indication of course for the sport which will develop but also how society in India has grown and changed,” Bindra said, after awarding the medals to the team championship winners of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship on Friday night.

“The youth of today are far more confident, not just sport but in general. I think that makes a lot of different because it gives them a lot of self-belief. I think the crunch situation is a year away from now and we will know in Tokyo how they fare. I wish them luck.”

In an effort to groom youngsters and help them translate the belief into a structured high-performance programme, Bindra has founded the Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance (ABPT).

The fifth centre of ABPT - which aims at providing the best of scientific and technological enhancement measures - started in Bhubaneswar earlier in the year.

An official demonstrates the body balancing instrument inside the Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance (ABTP) training centre at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar.   -  Biswaranjan Rout


The centre is equipped with the latest technological evaluation and rectification equipment along with an expert team led by Dr. Kartik Doshi.

“Bhuvneshwar in becoming the hub of sport. The (Odisha) government’s been extremely supportive. A lot of sporting action is coming here. We’ve set up a lot of these high performance centres for various sports. Makes a lot of sense to supplement the work that the high performance centres with the work that we are doing,” Bindra said.

“We do high performance, we do injury prevention, we do injury management, so it’s part and performance of sport right at the elite level but also at the grassroot level. So it was a perfect destination. It’s a very supportive administration. It’s been fantastic and we could translate our vision into reality.”

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