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Need to create sporting culture, define our aspiration: Bindra

76   //    25 Aug 2017, 18:34 IST

New Delhi, Aug 25 (PTI) Abhinav Bindra, India's only individual Olympic gold medallist, today stressed on the need to "aggressively" work towards creating a sporting culture in the country and "clearly define" its aspiration.

"We should aggressively work towards creating a sporting culture in the country, encourage weekend sporting activity rather than going for, say movies. We need to indulge in sporting activities. You don't need to play competitively. And this has not happened," Bindra said.

The five-time Olympian, who called time on his decorated shooting career after the Rio Games last year, was in the capital for a talk chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

Going back in time, Bindra said he had wanted to stay at home but had to go abroad because of lack of infrastructure and coaching, and sports secretary Injeti Srinivas said they are trying to reverse that trend.

"My plan A was to train at home but had to switch to plan B," he said.

As part of the eight-member Olympic Task Force - constituted to plan a roadmap to improve India's performance in the next three Olympics - Bindra has given his recommendations to the sports ministry.

Bindra remains the only individual gold medallist at the Olympic Games in a country of more than one billion.

"We must understand what Olympic sports mean to us, we need to clearly define our aspirations. For China, it was very important for them to make a statement and Olympic Games is one way of doing that," Bindra said.

Grassroots and nutrition figure in Bindra's priority list.

"We need systems in place, we still have a lot to do in grassroot level.

"We all talk about medals in multinational events, criticise after the Games but we don't pay enough attention to grassroot," he said.

Regarding nutrition, he said in many places, especially in villages and small towns, it is way below the required level and there are lots of challenges that needed to be addressed.

"That is a very vital element going forward," Bindra said on the importance of nutrition.

Bindra, who said taking a call on retirement was easier than winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympic in 2008, is optimistic about the future of Indian shooting, saying there is a lot of depth now.

"Indian shooting has a lot of depth in talent. It's important to nurture their path, training them in the four- year Olympic cycle and I am sure that Olympic success will come if we follow this path."

He talked about the role played by culture, information and infrastructure in helping develop champion athletes

Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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