Legendary Olympian Abhinav Bindra has offered full support to any Tokyo Olympics-bound India athlete. The former 10m Air Rifle world champ heaped praise on all the athletes who overcame the numerous adversities, especially the COVID-19 challenges, over the last year to book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
The 38-year-old Abhinav Bindra is India’s one and only individual gold medallist at the Olympics at the 2008 Beijing Games in the men's 10m air rifle event. China's Zhu Qinan took silver, while Henri Häkkinen of Finland settled for bronze.
In a letter posted on Twitter, Abhinav Bindra congratulated everyone who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and is confident of bringing everyone together in these tough times.
“I am proud of you and wish you all the very best as you embark on your quest of bringing more Olympic glory to India. If you require any assistance or even if you just want to discuss my experiences at the Games, I am here always available,” Abhinav Bindra wrote in the letter.
“For every athlete, the journey to the Games takes years of rigorous training and is full of hardships and setbacks, it takes immense dedication and resilience to reach where you are now, where only a few special women and men from our nation have gone,” he added
100 Indian athletes have booked Tokyo Olympics tickets so far
So far, 100 Indian athletes have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics – 56 men and 44 women. While India will have the most representations, there are several firsts for the country at the Tokyo Olympics. For example, CA Bhavani Devi is India’s first fencer to qualify for the Summer Olympics.
Abhinav Bindra termed Indian athletes’ achievements as ‘rare and exceptional’ at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc around the world. Not only has it changed the food habits of the athletes but also their independence with stringent protocols.
“Your rare feat is all the more exceptional considering how the ongoing pandemic would have forced you to change your respective training plans in order to prepare for these Olympic Games. However, you persevered through these uncertain times by sheer will and determination, to emerge as true champions; as Olympians,” Abhinav Bindra said.
The Olympics are the biggest dream of every athlete. The thrill and excitement of being at the greatest sporting event will be there for everyone. While some have already experienced the adrenaline rush, there will be many who will experience it for the first time in Tokyo.
“The thrill of competing at the greatest sporting event in the world and being recognised as the best sportspersons in your country remains unprecedented. I am sure you will be itching to light up Tokyo with your unrelenting resolve and skills,” Abhinav Bindra said.
“I want to offer you all my good wishes and support. As an Olympian, you will forever have the opportunity to be an ambassador of the spirit of Olympism and promote friendship, respect, and excellence wherever you go and whatever you do,” Abhinav Bindra concluded.