Expertise at grassroots missing link in Indian sport: Bindra

Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra on Saturday said a collective expertise at the grassroots level is absent in Indian sport, a “missing link” that needs to be fixed.

Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medal winner which he won at the 2008 Beijing Games, was on Friday appointed chairman of the re-constituted Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Committee, which also has sprint star P.T. Usha and badminton great Prakash Padukone among others.

Asked if there is a collective place where budding shooters can learn the trade, Bindra said, “Unfortunately not. There is no such place around. We have a lot of ‘so called’ coaches now who have a bit of knowledge.

“But obviously I think for a collection of knowledge there is a long way to go for us. That is a missing link in Indian sport,” said Bindra.

Bindra’s quest for a second medal ended in heartbreak at the Rio Olympics last year as he finished fourth in a tense shoot-off in the men’s 10 metre air rifle event. He was speaking at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.

“That knowledge and expertise available to the grassroot (is missing). And that is something that needs to desperately change in our country and in our scenario because at the time they are starting out, that is the most crucial time when their foundation is laid and techniques are formed.”

Bindra admitted that things have been better in the last few years, but said that more needs to be done.

“Things have changed over the years. There is a lot more knowledge available about my sport. Previously I had to go abroad for the expertise.

“I remember in the first nationals there were 200 people who took part, now there are 6,000 people taking part. So with the success, knowledge has increased.”