Bindra: Indian shooters have realistic chance of winning medals in Tokyo

With a record quota places for the upcoming Olympics, Abhinav Bindra says Indian shooters have a “realistic” chance of succeeding in Tokyo.

Abhinav Bindra has been really impressed by the talented young shooters.

Abhinav Bindra has been really impressed by the talented young shooters.   -  V. Sreenivasa Murthy

India’s young shooters have a “realistic” chance of succeeding at the Tokyo Olympics, says Abhinav Bindra, who is “tired” of being the country’s only individual gold-medallist at the Games.

The number of Olympic quotas stands at a record 15 after a highly successful 2019 that saw Indian shooters top all the Rifle-Pistol World Cups and the season-ending World Cup Finals. This was after they drew a blank at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“The depth of talent in our country and the support has increased tremendously. A lot of the athletes are going to be 16, 17-year-olds when they make their Olympic debuts and they have a realistic shot at winning medals at the Games, which says something,” Bindra told the Olympic Channel.

At the forefront of the incredible showing was an extremely talented youth brigade, something the Olympic champion took note of.

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“At such a young age, to reach an elite level means that they are really, really talented.

“They have been winning top competitions across the world and each one of them has what it takes (to win in Olympics). So I have my fingers crossed. I do hope they will come back with some gold medals and join me because I am tired of being the only one.”

Bindra hosted two refugee shooters at his foundation in Bengaluru last month.

The Indian is associated with a noble project started by his friend and three-time Italian Olympic champion Niccolo Campriani.

Through the initiative, the duo aims to train the refugee shooters in air rifle and help them participate with the Refugee Olympic team, which made its debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Campriani’s two hopefuls -- Khaoula and Mahdi -- made the trip to Bengaluru to train at his foundation.

Bindra said he is trying to be a facilitator in the cause.

“Just trying to support them and trying to be a good facilitator or an enabler of sorts to make sure that they have the best possible opportunity to push themselves to try and compete at Tokyo.

“The project is something which is absolutely unique and it transcends sport. That is so in line to what the Olympics are all about. Of course, the Olympics are about winning and it’s about pushing yourself to extreme limits of self-performance.

“But I think the wider meaning is about unity and it’s about competing in a peaceful way and using sport to bring the world together.”