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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nothing has changed: Abhinav Bindra

What has changed since the Olympic gold?
Everything, yet nothing. Let me explain. As a person, a professional shooter, as a son, friend, colleague, I remain the same person. I was a single shot away from a goal I had dreamt about and assiduously worked for more than half my life. My family’s love and faith in me hasn’t changed. It won’t. On another plane, everything, just about everything has changed. For one, I have the unqualified love of a billion-plus people. For another, those close to me believe I have made a difference to the way Indians think about sport. Wherever I go, interact, speak, mingle with the high and mighty, the hoi polloi, I am treated with admiration bordering on awe. It is at times unnerving, but mostly, I enjoy this attention.

Has the achievement brought a change to the sport of shooting?
Not that I know of. Judging from what people say, one would like to believe that institutional change is in the air. Direct government or association inspired change to the sport of shooting is, however, not yet evident, at least to me. The government and the sporting associations are obviously under no obligation to share their plans for the conceptualisation, the piloting of change with me. What I am sure about is that the realisation that we need to do far more than we have so far.

Is there enough being done to promote Olympic sport?
I am not privy to the working model of the government or the associations. Having said that, my feeling on the subject is that we have no time to lose. This is why I have not waited for the government, the associations to take initiative. The Abhinav Bindra Ace Public Schools (ABAPS) will be my vehicle to achieve my dream of achieving excellence. The die has been cast.

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