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If India Wants To Win 50 Olympic Medals

December 01, 2023 12:00 IST
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IMAGE: Neeraj Chopra -- the first Indian to win a gold medal in a track and field event at the Olympics -- with cricketer Rinku Singh at the Asian Games, September 29, 2023. Photograph: Rinku Singh/Instagram

For India to progress as a sporting nation it must create a sustainable and thriving ecosystem and stop looking at sports from the narrow lens of high performance, says Abhinav Bindra, the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal.

'What I would really like to see India as a country is to start looking at sport more holistically and not singularly from the prism of high performance. It is a very narrow view. And if you only look at it from a high-performance perspective, it will be very challenging to make that next leap from seven Olympic medals in Tokyo,' Bindra said at the RCB Innovation Lab's Leaders Meet India on Thursday, November 30, 2023.

Abhinav Bindra

IMAGE: Abhinav Bindra speaks at the RCB Innovation Lab's Leaders Meet India event. Photograph: RCB/X

'If you want to get to 50 medals it is not just going to be pumping money into the elite. It is only going to be a very small percentage of your population that is going to get involved in sports,' the Olympic champion said.

'So you need more people to play and the by-product of that hopefully will be that more people will be involved in sport. So, I believe that the shift in perspective needs to happen and it needs to happen now,' Bindra added.

'Giving more opportunities to young people to simply enjoy sport is an important element that has to be developed for the whole Olympic project. The number two point is developing an economy for the future. The whole country needs to be involved in not just celebrating Indian success but also celebrating sports,' Bindra asserted.

'If you have that larger goal in mind and you have this more holistic thought process in mind, I think you come up with an interesting project that will not just be limited to the two weeks of sports,' Bindra added, 'but to how the Olympic Games can truly be the driver for real change.'

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