Bindra triggers soul-searching in Pakistan sports

September 9th, 2008 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Abhinav BindraKarachi, Sep 9 (IANS) When Abhinav Bindra’s ace marksmanship earned him a gold medal at last month’s Olympic Games in Beijing, his stunning performance inspired a billion of his fellow Indians.Across the border in Pakistan, whose athletes didn’t even come close to winning a medal in Beijing, Bindra’s heroics may not have inspired as many people but it surely has done one thing. The Indian shooter has helped start a debate here among the sporting circles that when a sportsman from India can win an Olympic gold then why can’t a Pakistani achieve similar glory?

Ask Razi Ahmed Khan, a veteran shooting coach and senior vice-president of the National Rifle Association of Pakistan and he will tell you that it’s very much possible.

“What Bindra has done made every South Asian proud. He has also shown that with proper planning and hard work everything is possible,” Razi, a regular visitor to the Olympics, told IANS.

Razi believes that Pakistan can achieve similar success at the Olympic shooting range from 2016 onwards if its sports authorities start investing in sports like shooting.

“I won’t say that we will go and win a gold medal in London (2012) but what I can say with confidence is that we can start winning Olympic shooting medals from 2016 onwards if proper steps are taken.”

Proper steps is one thing that Pakistan hasn’t taken in the field of sports up till now, says Razi.

Razi has been running from pillar to post since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney with a long-term junior training programme but has so far failed to get any financial backing from the authorities.

“I’ve seen (Abhinav) Bindra in competition on several occasions and he is good,” says Razi.

“But I must add that we have several unpolished gems like Bindra, who with proper training, can go on to become Olympic champions,” he adds.

He points out that with just a few months training, Pakistani marksmen managed to win five gold medals at the 2006 South Asian Games in Colombo.

“India dominated in Colombo but we still won five gold medals and that too without any proper training programme.”

Razi believes that Pakistani shooters can benefit by competing and training with their Indian counterparts.

“India has been working on its shooters for years and is ahead of us. We can benefit by competing against their shooters on a regular basis,” he said.

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