Abhinav Bindra Optimistic About Indian Shooting at Paris Olympics

The depth of talent in Indian shooting is immense, and I am confident that we will continue to produce many champions in the years to come. As for myself, I have no intentions of getting into coaching…Abhinav Bindra speaks with Chetan Sharma

India’s 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra believes that the Indian shooting contingent have the “potential to secure multiple medals” at the Paris Olympics, scheduled to kickstart from July 26.

Speaking exclusively to IANS, he further added that the depth of talent in Indian shooting is immense. Asked if he has any plans to take over the coaching role in the near future, Bindra said “no”.

The former Indian shooter also explained about the collaboration between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, designed to inspire physical activity and celebrate the 2024 Games. Below are excerpts from the interview:

Paris Games are just a month away, how many medals do you think India can win in shooting? Since Tokyo was empty!

Predicting the exact number of medals is challenging, but I am optimistic about our chances in Paris. Our shooters have been training rigorously, and with the right support and preparation, I believe we have the potential to secure multiple medals.

Who do you think can become the next Abhinav Bindra of shooting? Any chance of taking over the coach’s role in the Indian side?

The depth of talent in Indian shooting is immense, and I am confident that we will continue to produce many champions in the years to come. As for myself, I have no intentions of getting into coaching.

Indian shooters perform well in other major tournaments, but when it comes to the Olympics, they often fall short. What do you think is the reason?

We must rally and support our athletes wholeheartedly. Shooting has won Olympic medals in the past, and there is no reason why we can’t achieve this success again in the future.

How is the collaboration between the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Reliance Foundation, and the Abhinav Bindra Foundation designed to inspire physical activity and celebrate the Paris Olympics?

The collaboration between the IOC, Reliance Foundation, and the Abhinav Bindra Foundation is built around the “Let’s Move India” initiative. This program aims to inspire physical activity by engaging people of all ages in celebrating the Paris 2024 Olympics. Through a series of digital challenges and regional school initiatives, we are encouraging individuals to participate in various forms of movement, be it dance, local sports, or athletic celebrations. This partnership not only highlights the importance of physical well-being but also brings communities together in a shared celebration of our athletes heading to Paris 2024.

What role do schools play in the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) as part of this collaborative effort?

Schools play a pivotal role in the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP) as they serve as the primary platforms for engaging young minds. Through OVEP, we integrate the core values of Olympism—excellence, respect, and friendship—into the educational framework. Schools across the country participate in physical activities, educational workshops, and community events, fostering a culture of physical fitness and sportsmanship. This involvement ensures that children not only stay active but also internalize the positive values associated with the Olympic movement. Through my foundation – ABF, we work with schoolchildren to experience these values through sport, art and activities, which helps them imbibe values and 21st century life skills.

How has the initiative positively impacted children in Odisha and Assam, and how many children have benefited from it?

The initiative has had a significant positive impact on children in Odisha and Assam, enhancing their physical activity levels, promoting gender inclusivity, and improving educational outcomes. Through our collaborative efforts, we have reached and benefited over 7 million children. These children have gained access to better sports facilities, training, and educational resources, fostering a holistic development that combines physical fitness with academic growth.

In what ways does the Abhinav Bindra Foundation contribute to promoting physical well-being?

The Abhinav Bindra Foundation contributes to promoting physical well-being through various initiatives focused on sports science, athlete training, and community engagement. Our high-performance training centers provide grassroots athletes with access to state-of-the-art facilities and professional coaching. Additionally, our STEAM and Sport4Her initiatives aim to develop young athletes, particularly girls, while our Sport of Life and Athlete Mental Wellness programs offer surgical assistance and mental health support, respectively. We also focus on addressing environment and climate change through the Olympic Forest Project. By integrating global best practices, we strive to create a supportive environment that nurtures physical and mental well-being.

What is the Olympic Movement’s mission in terms of enhancing physical and mental health through sport?

The Olympic Movement’s mission is to make the world a better place through sport by enhancing both physical and mental health. This mission is accomplished by promoting regular physical activity, fostering community spirit, and encouraging healthy lifestyles. The “Let’s Move” initiative exemplifies this mission by inspiring millions of people worldwide to engage in daily physical activity, which in turn improves overall well-being and creates a more active, healthier global community.

Why is it important to support Indian athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympics, and how does this collaboration aim to achieve that goal?

Supporting Indian athletes for the Paris 2024 Olympics is vital to highlighting the incredible talent and dedication within our sports community on a global platform. Through initiatives like “Let’s Move India,” we aim to generate widespread support and enthusiasm, significantly boosting our athletes’ morale. The Olympic movement is gaining traction in India, and with Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of hosting the Olympics in 2036, programs like OVEP and Let’s Move India are crucial in connecting young audiences with the global community. Furthermore, our efforts to promote physical activity at the grassroots level are essential in nurturing a strong pipeline of future Olympians.

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