New Delhi: Abhinav Bindra left the Olympic Village, on Friday, for Dortmund as he felt he would be able to train better in the German city.
“Bindra has checked out of the Games Village along with his coach. He will now return to London on July 25,” an official of the Indian contingent said. Bindra had been camping in Germany for the past few months to prepare for the Olympics.
Asked what prompted the Beijing Olympic gold medallist to leave the Village and go back to Germany along with coach Dr Uwe Riesterer, the official said the training facilities were better in Dortmund. “Compared to number of shooters assembled here so far, the lanes are fewer for training. Bindra is so focused that he doesn’t want any hindrance to his practice.”
It may be recalled that Bindra was the first Indian shooter to check into the Village last week to acclimatise with the London conditions. He is even bearing the travel and lodging expenses of two of his close technical aides — Dr Amit Bhattacharya and (mental trainer) Riesterer — as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) did not include them as the part of the Indian contingent.
The 11-member shooting team is considered India’s biggest medal hopes in London. While Bindra, along with Gagan Narang, remains the best bet, Ronjan Sodhi and Manavjit Singh in trap and Vijay Kumar in pistol are also expected to come up with strong performances.
Among the Indian shooters, Ronjan , Sanjeev Rajput, Manvjit Singh and Joydeep Karmakar have already checked into the Games Village and have been practising intensely. They are not the only ones to move into the Village early.
Even some of the medal winners of previous Olympics like Rajmond Debevec (Slovenia), Torben Grimmel (Denmark) and Maik Eckhardt (Germany) have already reached.
Manavjit, who would be participating in his third Olympics, said he was better prepared this time. “In Athens and Beijing, my form was tentative but here I am better prepared. I have trained very hard in Italy before coming here,” he said.
The shooter was of the view that a score of 121 out of 125 should be enough in his event to make the cut for the final. The final, however, would be an open affair, he felt.
He said the shooters from Russia, Italy and Australia are favourites in his event but then it is all statistics. “Records and statistics are not everything because they are meant to change,” he added.
Sanjeev Rajput feels that in his event — 50m rifle 3 position — the field is fairly strong. There are 60 shooters, including ace Italian shooter Marco De Nicolo, in the fray.