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sports | IST

Abhinav Bindra exclusive: Tokyo Olympics will require lot of adaptability and flexibility

Masks, social distancing, quarantine --- Tokyo 2020 is an Olympics like no other. To discuss India's prospects at the Tokyo Olympics, Shereen Bhan spoke to India's only individual Olympic gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra. Bindra made history when he won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Masks, social distancing, quarantine --- Tokyo 2020 is an Olympics like no other. The pandemic delayed the event by a year and now 11,300 athletes from 207 nations will battle it out in what is the biggest sporting extravaganza on the planet.
To discuss India's prospects at the Tokyo Olympics, Shereen Bhan spoke to India's only individual Olympic gold medal winner Abhinav Bindra. Bindra made history when he won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Bindra believes that the Olympics is a great way for people to come together and is hopeful that the conversation will shift from COVID and focus on sports.
"In certain sports it is an advantage to have less crowd but for certain sports athletes love that energy. They get their energy from people watching. However all sporting venues will have the ambient spectator noises playing, so it is an Olympics like never before. Athletes are people who adapt continuously and adaptability is one of our fortes. So these games will require a lot of adaptability and flexibility in mindset from the athletes", he said.
The 127-member Indian contingent is the country's biggest ever at an Olympics so far. Indian athletes will vie for medals in 18 sporting disciplines.
So far, India has won a total of 28 Olympic medals in its history with 9 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 12 bronze medals in more than a century.
Bindra said, "Our chances of winning in shooting have never been so bright. We have a very young team of 15 members. However 8 out of these 15 members have been world number 1 and world number 2. So never before in history of our country have we gone into Olympics with such a strong contingent."
Bindra believes that sport has become a priority for modern-day governments across the world. India has also done a lot of investment in training facilities in the last 7-8 yrs and the ace shooter wants the coaches and trainers to be empowered further.
"A lot of work has been done in the last in decade or so in sports. There is a lot of investment which is now going into elite athletes training. So there is no lack of money for elite level training. However what I would like to see perhaps going forward is more emphasis needs to be laid out in strengthening the whole ecosystem that surrounds the athlete - it is about producing world class coaches and support system that surrounds the athlete. I would also like to see us as a country leverage on the power of sport and what it can do to society and communities. So we need to create that culture of sports", he added.