We need an Olympic programme: Bindra

August 14th, 2008 - 8:03 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) Country’s new sporting icon Abhinav Bindra feels India can attain more glory at top level competitions only when there is a serious Olympic programme in place for churning out champion sportspersons. “There is a huge difference between us and other countries in the way we prepare for international events. Every country has serious Olympic programme in place. Unfortunately, we do not have it in India. We can make progress if only we have a programme which can provide grassroot level training to athletes from all over the country.”

Though India is a growing economic superpower with a burgeoning population, laurels at the international level have been very few.

After participating in the Olympics for 108 years, India won their first individual gold Monday when Bindra clinched the top honours in 10 metre air rifle.

Bindra thanked Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India for playing their part in his success.

“I thank IOA and SAI for the role they played in my success. They can do a lot more now to inspire other sportspersons to bring glory.”

Asked about reports that his gun was tampered during the interval between the qualification and final of his event Monday, Bindra initially refused to comment.

When prodded further, the shooter said: “I had some troubles. I don’t know what happened. At the end of the day, it (gun) worked. So I don’t want to think about it”.

Bindra returned from Beijing Thursday to be immediately engulfed by an adoring crowd, followed by a series of meeting with dignitaries including President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Bindra also met sports minister M.S. Gill amidst a huge media presence.

“I am overwhelmed and honoured that I have got a chance to meet these people. It is a proud moment for me,” Bindra told reporters after meeting the sports minister.

Bindra returned in the early hours of Thursday, to be greeted by a huge gathering at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport.

A band played and people danced the Bhangra as Bindra stepped out of the airport looking surprised by the grand reception.

A large number of sports buffs and officials of IOA and National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) were present.

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