India should target five medals at London Olympics: Bindra

December 7th, 2008 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Abhinav BindraNew Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) The Beijing Olympics were undoubtedly India’s best performance so far on the individual level and gold medal winning shooter Abhinav Bindra feels the country should target five medals at the 2012 London Games.India brought home one gold and two bronze medals from Beijing with the 26-year-old Bindra becoming the country’s first individual gold medal winner.

Bindra, who has since then become a cult figure in Indian sports, said the momentum gained from the Olympics in the Chinese capital needs be taken forward and India should set eyes on five medals in London Olympics.

“The government spends money, but I believe the money should be well directed. We must have goals. Goals such as winning five medals in 2012 and then systematically pursue those goals,” Bindra told IANS in an interview.

He also feels that its time for corporates to come forward and support Olympic sports in the country.

“The government is the only financial contributor to Olympic sports in India. Its time for corporates to look beyond cricket, which has enough money to sustain itself. We need an efficient system with targets and goals,” he added.

Asked, if it was really possible for sponsors to think beyond cricket, Bindra said: “We must first have a mindset towards that. We finally have an Olympic gold and it’s a reality now. It’s also the responsibility of the media to cover sports outside cricket and give them their due.”

The rifle-shooter also said it was very important to take sports to the grassroots level.

Bindra said he is also trying in his own way to help sportsperson in the country.

“I have come out with a book which will help shooters train better and get a wealth of knowledge. I am also working on ways to make air-rifles more accessible to the public so that younger kids are attracted towards the sport,” he said.

On the proposed plans of his family to open a chain of schools, he said: “We have plans to open schools across the country. The schools will have good sports facilities and world class technical know-how so that strong foundations are laid. This will help promote sports culture among kids apart from the regular curriculum of education.”

Bindra said India is now a world power in shooting.

“Just look in the air-rifle section. We have the Junior and Senior World Champion from India, Olympic Champion and also world record holder from India. We have won medals at Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cups,” he pointed out.

Bindra has not competed afer the Olympics and also skipped the World Cup Finals, where his team mate Gagan Narang won the gold.

“Its an Olympic year, what else can better the Olympic gold. For me the season ended right there and then. Of course there was the World Cup final, but for me personally its not an important competition and I have given it a miss on previous occasions also.

“There is a plan a sportsperson follows and it is not just a random thing. Shooting is not like cricket where you play one series and go right into another. We plan our years on with a goal - and that being the Olympic Games - and work our way around training and competition to give it our best during the games,” he said.

Bindra said he will be back next year with full dedication.

“I have never discussed my targets with the media and would like to keep it that ways, but whatever I do, I will do with full commitment and dedication,” he maintained.

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