Never has an Indian shooting contingent looked stronger going into a summer Games than it is now, says 2008 gold medalist Abhinav Bindra. Since September 1, 2018, the beginning of the qualification period for the Tokyo Olympic, Indian shooters have won a record 15 Olympic 2020 quota places.
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“Never have we ever gone to a Tokyo Olympic with such bright chances. We have 15 athletes and each one of them, who have capable, is skilled at winning a medal,” Bindra told IANS.
Shooters who emerged in the required period have been teenagers like pistol shooters Sourabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker. Bindra said that the fact that the team is young makes it hard to predict results in Tokyo.
Those that follow Indian shooting or India’s presentation at the Olympic 2020 in general, would be forgiven for tempering their prospects. India had gone into the 2016 Olympic in Rio de Janeiro with big opportunities from the shooting contingent, of which Bindra himself was a part. It twisted out to be the first Olympic since 2000 in which no Indian was able to finalize a medal in the shooting event.
I think it is a conclusion of work which has happened over a period of time. I do not think such progress can happen because of one poor Olympic. It is a course in which the sport has changed over the last 10 years and a lot of young people have come through. The process was caused by the silver we won at Athens 2004, the gold in 2008 and the silver and bronze in London 2012.
The government has been helpful and the federation (National Rifle Association of India) has one a good job in encouraging a junior program. The results have come over a period of time and not because of something that happened one or two years ago.
“They have already shown that they have what it takes to win at the highest level. That is all we can do going into the Games and then it boils down to how we achieve on that given day. But of course, going into these Games, a lot of Indian shooting athletes have looked skilled in winning medals which I think has never happened before,” he said.
He declined to get into the fix of predicting exactly who will win a medal in Tokyo later in the year. It is an unfair question to ask. All 15 have fantastic chances to win medals. I won’t name a particular person as it will be very unfair on them and on the people that I do not name.
When asked what is it that has led to shotgun events cover overdue pistol and rifle in the country. The air pistol and air rifle events allow for mass contribution because these are not firearms. You just necessity a 10m range which several schools have put up in their sites. It is the nature of the sport which allows numbers to come.
We have so many people contributing to the rifle and pistol events in the nationals and pre-nationals. You won’t see shotgun ranges coming up in neighborhoods and schools or 12-year-old kids rapidly exercising a shotgun just for the fun of it. But with the rifle and pistol events, because it is not a firearm, the convenience is much better and it is easier to set up. The contribution we have in the shotgun events can’t even be compared with what we have with the pistol and rifle events.
Bindra himself retired from the sport shortly after the 2016 Olympic and has since successfully offered into the field of sports business. ‘Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance’, a group of sports concert and medical recovery centers, recently announced a tie-up with Daivam Wellness.