Abhinav Bindra reckons that investing in just elite athletes will not make India a sporting superpower. If the country aspires to take its medals tally to double digits in the Olympics, more people need to enter the playing arenas. Sport should not be looked at from the narrow prism of high performance.
India’s top athletes have, of late, been receiving tremendous financial support from the government and corporate houses. Bindra said the investment in just top-level athletes will not suffice.
“If you want to get to 50 (Olympic medals), it is not just going to be pumping money into the elite (athletes). It is only going to be a very small percentage of your population that is going to get involved in sports, so you need more people to play,” Bindra said during the RCB Innovation Lab Leaders Meet here.
Bindra, the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist in 10m air rifle, added that India was at a juncture where sport must become a mass movement now.
“The by-product of that hopefully will be that more people will be involved in sport. So I believe that the shift in perspective needs to happen and it needs to happen now.”
Bindra also said that for India to become a sporting nation, a “sustainable” and “thriving ecosystem” should be created.