India's only individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra has expressed his belief that the country could record its best-ever medal haul at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. He has also backed the Indian shooting contingent to perform well in the mega quadrennial event.
The 2012 London Games was India's most successful outing, with the six athletes winning medals. Shooter-turned-entrepreneur Abhinav Bindra expressed that the Tokyo Olympics could also be a memorable event for India despite the challenging circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We could end up with ever best-ever medal haul at the Tokyo Olympics even though the times are challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abhinav Bindra said during a webinar organised by the Merchants’ Chambers of Commerce & Industry.
“Sport is not scripted but I do hope that we come back with our best medal haul. That means we will come back with more medals than the London haul, which, if I am not wrong, remains our best," added Bindra.
Abhinav Bindra backs the Indian shooting contingent ahead of the Tokyo Olympics
Shooting is India's most successful sport in Olympic history after hockey and wrestling. Abhinav Bindra's gold in the men's 10m air rifle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the first time India had gained a top-podium finish since 1980.
The next edition of the Olympics, in London, saw the shooting contingent bag a double with a silver for Vijay Kumar and a bronze for Gagan Narang.
The 38-year-old expects a strong performance from India in the shooting discipline. He also added that there are many athletes from other games that could win medals for the country.
“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," said Abhinav Bindra.
The likes of top-ranked 10m air rifle women's shooter Elavenil Valarivan and World No. 2 10m air pistol shooter Manu Bhakar are among the favorites to win a medal for India.
Abhinav Bindra also talked about how things have changed since the time he started 22 years ago.
“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 my age. I don’t think it was a challenge but it was an interesting dynamic,” said Bindra.
The 32-member Olympic-bound Indian shooting team is currently in New Delhi for selection trials in the rifle, pistol, and shotgun events. Following this, the teams for the year’s first two ISSF World Cups will get picked.Published 05 Jan 2021, 16:47 IST