Tokyo 2020: Bindra optimistic of good haul by Indian shooters

The Beijing Olympics champion Abhinav Bindra emphasised that the current uncertainty caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus was an added challenge before Tokyo 2020.

Sachin Tendulkar, shooter Abhinav Bindra and Tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi during launch of the book 'Dreams Of Billion India & Olympic Games' written by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta, in Mumbai.   -  AADESH CHOUDHARY

It’s that time of the year when most of India’s top athletes train abroad, to get into the groove ahead of the Olympics with the mega event just four months away.

But with the top sporting events at risk as coronavirus continues to spread, many Indian athletes have either cancelled their plans of training abroad or are unsure about their future course of action. There is also no clarity on whether the Olympics would kick-off as per schedule.

Abhinav Bindra, India’s only Olympic gold medallist in shooting, however, feels athletes need to deal with such situations.“Performing at the highest level in sports requires adaptability. Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, they are going to the Olympics. They have prepared to the best of their abilities and when they go to the Olympics, some dynamics will change. This is a situation which is new for everybody and they need to adapt to it and watch how things pan out,” Bindra said on the sidelines of the launch of the book, Dreams of a Billion, written by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief, Thomas Bach, had earlier encouraged athletes to continue their preparation for the Tokyo Games at ‘full steam’. And Bindra echoed the same view.

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“The Games are being prepared to be on schedule as IOC chief said yesterday. The best experts are monitoring the situation, there will be a time when there will be clarity. No point in speculating on whether Games will be postponed,” Bindra said.

The Beijing Olympics champion is also confident of the Indian shooters faring well in Tokyo. “We have several athletes who are World No.1s. If you are World No.1, then you are favourite competing. It looks great on paper. Past performances say that we have a great chance, but when you are there, it is also a challenge. If you are World No.1, you don’t have freebies. The challenge is managing your expectations more than external expectations. I’m sure they are doing their bit to deal with the challenges…,” he said.

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Bindra also believes that the current lot of athletes is young and fearless. “I think that’s a very happy space to be in,” said Bindra, revealing that some of them do seek his advice.

“Well, some of them have been speaking to me from time to time. I don’t even tell them what to do. What I can tell them is my experience, things that I did wrong, things that I learnt. At the end of the day, they have to find their way. They just can’t follow me and copy what I did. If they have to succeed, they have to find their path,” he stated.

“I am very open if they seek my opinion. I will not actively go out and give it myself. I will not actively try to put something into their minds. But if I am asked, I am more than happy to share my experiences.”