India’s only individual gold medalist Abhinav Bindra has stated that he believes India can win a record medal haul at the Tokyo Olympics. He further stated that India has a wealth of talent and many athletes who can be counted as “realistic” medal prospects.
“Tokyo Olympics could end up with our best ever medal-haul even though the times are challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abhinav Bindra said on Monday during a webinar organised by Merchants’ Chambers of Commerce & Industry. “Sport is not scripted but I do hope that we come back with our best medal haul and that means we will come back with 5-6 medals and better the London haul, which, if I am not wrong, remains our best,” he added.
Bindra has pinned his hopes especially on the shooters as they have proved their mettle at the biggest stages in the recent past. However, he further stated that everything depends on the performances turn out that very moment.
“I think each one of them has the ability to do their best, they have proved themselves in the last two-three years. There are definite medal hopes not just in shooting but across other disciplines as well. We have many people who can be considered as realistic medal hopes going into Tokyo. But a lot also depends on that particular day,” he said.
“Post Beijing I wanted to give up”
Abhinav Bindra has started his own pet project, Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance Centre (ABTP). He is nurturing future prospects there. He feels that the shooting landscape has changed a lot since he started out two decades back.
“Shooting is now dominated by youngsters but when I was growing up, I was competing with older and experienced people who were double or triple our age. I don’t think it was a challenge but it was an interesting dynamic. Whenever I am in a crisis situation, whenever I find a challenge I do look back at my sporting career and ask myself how do I face it,” he said.
He further stated that as an athlete adaptability to change and acceptance play an important role. “As an athlete, you have to be very adaptable to changing situations, these are very useful in business as well. The other thing that is very important is acceptance. Sometimes we have to learn how to accept and move on as soon. As you do that your mind opens, it opens up to look at solutions rather than whining. The mind is then very positive. But it is easier said than done,” the former shooter said.
Interestingly Bindra wanted to quit the sport immediately after the Beijing Olympics where he won the gold medal in 10m air rifle. He explained how meditation helped him find peace and get back his motivation.
“Post Beijing I wanted to give up. I went for a meditation retreat, a 10-day Vipasana where I am supposed to meditate for 10 hours a day. That’s when I realised that I was still in love with the process. Actually it was the boring and mundane that again brought me back to the sport,” he said.