New Delhi [India], March 28 (ANI): India's first individual Olympic gold medal-winning shooter Abhinav Bindra is currently running his program at 100 schools in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in Odisha where about 35,000 children are enrolled, who play sports, experience sport, many of them for the first time in their lives, and achieve health benefits, enjoy the sport and most importantly, imbibe sporting values.
The champion shooter has opened up on athletes' mindset dealing with failures, mental health, dream projects and how it can make a difference to sport in India.
"I received so much in my sporting career. I just feel such a moral obligation to contribute and give back to society. It is something which is very important to me as a person and it is something which is extremely fulfilling in nature, to be able to try and help to be dared to be able to build to try and assist young athletes in their journeys. We give a scholarship program called STEAM. Majority of our athletes are between the ages of 12 and 16 because that is the time when athletes really need that support," said Abhinav Bindra on Backstage with Boria season 4 show.
He added, "There is another project called Sport for Her. It is a platform dedicated to female athletes. Encouraging more girls to play sport, but really empowering them. With the knowledge and assisting them in their journeys, in sport. The third project is called Sport for Life. We offer 100 free surgeries to athletes. May get injured, you know, we have so many athletes, not too, well-known athletes. But, you know, athletes who may not have made it, or may not have been successful, but do get injured and have no places to go and sometimes that could be the absolute end of the career."The Beijing Olympics gold medallist saw many ups and downs in his career. He finished 11th in Sydney Olympics 2000 and seventh in Athens Olympics 2004 before becoming the first Indian to bag an Olympic gold in 2008.
Talking about how to deal with failures, Abhinav said, "I had a long career in sport. Two things that stood out for me were learning to sail and learning to fail. Well, much of my career was about failure and learning to deal with it. Learning to let go of the unwanted baggage that failure brought but learning from each event and learning from each experience and incorporating the learnings from each competition of from each tournament and trying to be better than what I was yesterday."Abhinav Bindra has won one Olympic gold, four Commonwealth Games gold, three Asian Games medals and one World Championship gold in his career spanning over 20 years but failures too have been a part of his career and despite failure or success he has maintained his composure.
"To be able to adapt to the continuous changes... Of course, you must change when things are not going well. When you know, you have failure, you obviously have to tinker and change things, but in sport, and in my career, I think, you can see it in a lot of other fields. You also must have the courage to embrace change even when things are going well. And that is precisely what I did in many parts of my career. Although I did not win a medal in 2004, it was a time in my career, I was at my best. If I look back at those 20-odd years and sport, that was the time. I was in the best shape and competing, you know, myperformances in competition were effortless when I look back, it was one of the key decisions that I took, which is responsible for my success in Beijing," said Abhinav Bindra.
On being asked how he dealt with failure, he said, "Learning when you must look ahead to get better and do try and succeed. The future is also to set smaller ones along the way that I think is a very, very important part of that whole process of overcoming failure and building towards the next big success. You have to set smaller goals and acknowledge when they are achieved, pat yourself on the back because that gives you continuous motivation. Required to keep going because you know, whenever you are trying to achieve something big, it is going to take its natural course of time. It may not happen overnight, but you must show up to work every day."Till Tokyo Olympics, in 2021 Bindra was the only Indian individual to bag an Olympic gold but after the conclusion of the Olympics Neeraj Chopra was there to give him company and now there are two Indian individuals to bag an Olympic gold medal for the country. The champion shooter's approach and preparation for the Olympics were much different than the way one would look.
"For me, the Olympics did not come once every four years they came every day. It was about showing up to training when nobody was watching and being completely accountable to myself at the end of every training day. Before I went to bed, I had to look myself in the mirror and ask myself the question. Did I put in my best? Have I given it my best today and the days I did, I always had a good night's sleep, and that is something extremely powerful. It is extremely powerful, not just from, for the process of achieving your collective dreams of collective goals. It is so empowering for everybody as human beings. As individuals we could, what you are essentially doing, is you're building a tremendous amount of self-respect for your own self and that something extremely important, and useful, in your own personal journeys to, to have, no regrets. And you will have no regrets when you just are able to give it your best shot every day. With all honesty, and all integrity," said Bindra.
Abhinav Bindra is an inspiration for many Indian shooters and everyone is hopeful that his medal will inspire the current lot to bag a medal in the upcoming Paris Olympics 2024 and end India's 12 years of shooting drought of a medal. India last won medals in shooting in the Olympics was way back in 2012 in London when Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar won bronze and silver respectively in their categories. (ANI)