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Treat athletes as human beings, not medal-winning robots: Bindra

Source: PTI
May 23, 2024 20:08 IST
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Photograph: ANI

Olympic gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra on Thursday requested all those who are part of the sports ecosystem to treat athletes like human beings and not medal-winning robots.

Indian athletes' recent success in major international competitions including the Olympics, Asian and Commonwealth Games has not just raised the status of sportspersons it has also increased the pressure of expectations on them.


Bindra, winner of the 10m air rifle gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, added that mental well-being was a very important aspect not just for athletes but coaches as well and sports psychologists should show lots of patience while dealing with them.

"The first and foremost job is to treat athletes as human beings and not to keep conditioning them as medal-winning robots," Bindra said in a virtual interaction with sports psychologists at the Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi.

"Building trust and relationships with the athletes is very important and there should be absolute patience aplenty in the sports psychologists to deal with the constant mental and emotional evolution of the athletes," added Bindra, a former world champion in 10m air rifle.

He also urged the sports psychologists not to assess athletes, especially shooters, on the basis of the previous Olympics in Tokyo but on how they are currently placed.

"The shooters who competed in the Tokyo Olympics and the shooters who will be competing in Paris will have gone through a sea change in their mindsets. The athletes should be psychologically assessed on how they are at the now, not how they were four years ago. It is essential to evolve as sports psychologists as per the athletes' evolution," said Bindra, who quit competitive shooting after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Shedding light on how coaches can become more attuned with sports science, Bindra said the experts need to embrace change with an open mind.

"This is a transition period and there will be coaches who are guarded and not welcoming of sports science methods. But it all comes down to trust. It is imperative we make them understand psychology, technological advancements, physiology and other aspects of sports science through clinics.

"For example, having mental well-being workshop for the coaches will make them happier and start to appreciate their roles more. This breaks a lot of barriers and make them more open to embracing sports science. It will not be so much of a foreign concept to them anymore," Bindra added.

The programme is being conducted by the National Centre for Sports Science and Research (NCSSR), in collaboration with National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), and Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NSNIS), Patiala.

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Paris Olympics 2024

Paris Olympics 2024