‘Lonely’ Bindra hopes for gold club company in Tokyo 2020

New Delhi:  In a “lonely” club for a decade now, India’s only individual Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra’s pragmatism mingled with optimism as he hoped that not one but a few more will crowd the place come Tokyo 2020.

He has been hoping and will continue to remain hopeful, Bindra, who has grown 10 years older since scripting history on a balmy August evening at Beijing in 2008, said in an interaction.

“I am hoping for young Indian athletes to join me. I am quite positive and, as an athlete, I am conditioned to remain hopeful. Hopefully, we will have some Olympic champions in a couple of years,” Bindra said.

The 35-year-old, who has been appointed to the International Olympic Committee’s prestigious Athletes’ Commission, was referring to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Bindra, who is now a businessman and runs the Abhinav Bindra High Performance Centre, looks back to his biggest moment with nostalgia.

“Well obviously that was a wonderful moment of my life, dreamt about it for 15 years. I look back with a great sense of satisfaction and a sense nostalgia. Hopefully, it inspires Indian athletes to win. My time is over and I hope the present generation of Indian athletes remain inspired and it propels them to glory,” Bindra said.

Since retiring from shooting, Bindra has set up a never-seen-before High-Performance Training centre in India for elite athletes that boast of cutting-edge equipment.

It has immensely benefitted India’s athletes. “We have had a lot of young athletes coming over, it’s not just about training with young athletes. The idea is to build a knowledge-driven professional services environment that provides solutions, tight protocols and procedures facilitating peak performance. It is also about creating awareness and training in a more holistic manner.

Asked about his appointment to the IOC’s elite commission, he said, “Well I have just been appointed a couple of days ago, and this is something which I am looking forward to.”

This is “more than a personal recognition” for Bindra, who was elected chairman of the International Shooting Sport Federation’s (ISSF) Athletes Committee in 2014, becoming the first Indian to receive the honour. “I have been chair of the ISSF’s Athletes Commission so it’s more than personal recognition.”

Speaking about the Indian sporting scene, he said, “Well I do see a lot happening in Indian sports, a lot of young athletes are coming through with systemic changes, we have a (sports) minister who is an athlete himself.”