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Bindra Questions TOPS Selection But Demands Accountability From Athletes

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Questioning the frequent addition and dropping of many seasoned athletes from the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme, Beijing Olympics gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra also called for accountability from the athletes with consistent performances.

Bindra, who on Saturday celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Beijing Olympic gold in men’s 10 metre Air Rifle, by releasing a video with leading technology and digital innovation company JetSynthesys, conceded that athletes have be monitored over a period of time.

“Accountability is required from everyone, not only from the administrators but also from the athletes. At the end of the day, it’s the performance that matters. Athletes have to accountable to performance. Performance in sports is a process that is tedious,” Bindra told IANS in an interview.

“Since I am not part of the committee anymore, I don’t know who has been added or dropped. I haven’t been following what’s happening but there must be some procedures and protocols put into place which are being followed. Obviously you can’t pick and choose so quickly but has to be monitored over a period of time,” he added.
Bindra recently became only the second Indian after London Olympics bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal, to be appointed member of the prestigious Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Asked to comment on his new role, the 35-year-old said: “It’s not just a personal recognition but it’s the result of the hard work that we all have done with the ISSF.”

On being asked about India’s inability to produce a second individual Olympic gold medallist, Bindra said the moment the country produces another, that will be his biggest celebration.

“It’s been 10 years now, it’s an achievement when I look back it feels really satisfactory. I look at it with a lot of hope and if I can inspire young Indians to win another Olympic gold, that will be the biggest celebration for me,” he said.

“The Olympics have only happened twice after that, we have come closer on a few occasions. As an athlete, I am not looking at the past, looking forward to the future, to the 2020 Tokyo Games, where a lot of young Indian athletes will be there. I am really hopeful,” he added.

India’s major headache in major international competitions have been the dismal performance of Trap shooters but Bindra believed that the young shooters have the potential to turn it around for the country.

“I don’t exactly know what’s going wrong with trap shooting at the moment. It’s a process, it’s not easy to keep performing in a sport consistently. From outside it may look easy but we have a great number of young athletes to compete in trap.

“We require patience with time, as long as our athletes are putting their best foot forward that is what we should look at and we should back them,” he said.

Asked to predict on his expectations from the Indian shooting contingent at the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia, starting August 18, Bindra said he is looking forward for a great fight.

“I am looking forward to a good fight from our athletes. I am not a very outcome-driven person, so I don’t look at numbers or number of medals,” he said.

“I am looking forward to our athletes giving a tough fight and not take undue pressure about the outcome,” was his advice to the country’s shooters.

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