I don’t think we can win more than 3 medals in London: Bindra

Now?” was the anguished reaction from Abhinav Bindra when NDTV.com requested him for an interview. He was down with a cold when we rang him up, but he agreed to talk on Wednesday morning. Asked how many interviews has he done by now, Bindra said: “I’ve lost count.” Excerpts from a chat in which we talked about changing the sports landscape.

For India, an Olympic gold is a big high. How would you motivate yourself to do well at the big-ticket events in the future?

Right now, I’m all burnt out and I need a break and get my energy and will to work hard back. With it will come the motivation to do well. I don’t know how I will do it and I have no plans at the moment.

You had said that politicians running sports associations in India need to be more aware of their responsibilities. Suresh Kalmadi reacted by saying that netas are good for Indian sports. Do you agree with him?

I don’t care who runs sports in the country as long as they do what they are supposed to do. Those in charge should have a vision and a plan for the future of sports. I have nothing against anybody but if you are responsible for something then you must commit to it one hundred per cent.

There’s much wrong with the way sport in India is run. What’s the one thing you would like to get changed in Indian shooting with immediate effect?

I would get more coaches at the grassroots level. There are lots of talented juniors but no top class coaches for them. Coaching should be a big priority. Our national team has a Hungarian coach who has to deal with 70-80 shooters. That’s very hard to do. Our coaches should also be sent abroad for training and we should also encourage experienced shooters to take up coaching.

Then, there’s the problem of ammunition. It’s time to have a coordinator (to manage the supply of resources). This can’t wait. It needs to be done right away.

You mean the federation is still struggling to get ammo for shooters?

I’m not involved with these things but from what I have gathered, yes.

You’re an accomplished sports person and you also have a management degree. In the future, would you like to be in charge of the shooting federation?

I don’t know. I have no such ambitions.

With some honourable exceptions, Corporate India has largely ignored our sporting talent. What do you think are they worried about? And how can their fears be allayed?

It’s a combination of things. Olympic sports have had little exposure in our media but now three medals have changed that. For the corporates, it’s a matter of decision. But I am hopeful of a change in attitude and I’m hopeful they will adopt more Olympic athletes in future.

Could you name some young Indian shooters who strike you as particularly good – who could be medal contenders in the future?

There’s bundles of talent in India but there’s no one to nurture it. There are shooters at the grassroots level who have no coaching but they shoot high scores regardless. That’s amazing. Recently a girl shot a 390 in Indore. I can’t single out any one shooter as particularly promising. That would be unfair because there are so many talented shooters out there.

Finally, what would it take for India to win more than three medals in London?

I don’t know if we can win more than three medals in London. I don’t think we can do that. If we’re talking about just London, then there has to be a focus on athletes and there needs to be a planned, scientific way to go about it. Ideally, we should look at the 2016 Games and start working towards it. If we work hard, then it’s possible to win more medals.


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