Abhinav Bindra calls this phase of his life “earning a living.” The shooting range at his home hasn’t been converted into a vegetable garden yet, as he had said immediately after his final at the Rio Olympics. Bindra, though, doesn’t visit it either.
Post Rio, he’s been there only once – with his nephew. “I don’t miss being an athlete; don’t miss the shooting range at all,” he insists. He might not miss being an athlete but Bindra is still thinking like one.
After retiring from shooting, the 34-year-old has moved on to another obsession of his. All through his career, and even after it, Bindra has laid emphasis on sports science. “The role of sports science, sport medicine is incredibly important in modern-day sport. We can’t do without it. I don’t think the whole concept is actually strong enough in our country,” he had said after returning from Rio.
Now, he is walking the talk. Bindra’s first venture after retirement is a high performance studio, which he has opened in Mohali in collaboration with Italian firm TecnoBody.
Not one to make big claims, Bindra calls this technology “revolutionary”. “We are -30 when it comes to sports science. This is revolutionary. So it’s strange it’s there in this country. It’s a misfit,” he says.
Bindra’s famous words, “It’s not every four years. It’s everyday,” are inscribed on a wall inside the studio. He knows what it takes to win an Olympic medal. A gold. He also knows what it’s like to live through the pain, both psychological and physical. In his 20 years as an athlete, he has endured it several times.
This, he says, will go a long way in finding solutions to it. The machines, all imported from Italy, will help an athlete in training and assessment by generating real-time data. Each equipment has in-built 3-D cameras and motion sensors along with digital screens.
While working out or simply training on it, an athlete can check 3-D imaging of his own body, which helps understand body balance, pressure points, and other functional aspects in real time. There is also a mind room for brain mapping, a Pilate studio and Electric Muscle Simulation centre.
“Talent is there in our country. But unless they train in the right and efficient manner, there is no chance (of winning a medal). Really. Because the world is so advanced. If you train inefficiently, you develop patterNs which are inefficient. Then, when you compete, you are just praying to win. This helps you develop a right pattern. It focuses on quality of training, not just quantity,” Bindra explains.
Bindra came across this technology in Munich in 2014 and used it for the first time earlier this year. In a short period, he says it helped him improve his stability and balance – two crucial aspects for a shooter. He carried a portable version of one of the machines with him to Rio. “But if I had access to this technological support, I would’ve won another medal,” he adds.
The Beijing gold medallist plans to throw open his centre to Indian athletes for free next month onwards.
“If something is presented to them which will improve their performance, why wouldn’t they embrace it?
If someone told me to jump in the well and that would guarantee me a medal at the Olympics, then I would jump into the well,” he says.
He hopes the government and even the BCCI shows interest in the technology. For the time being though, a few athletes – especially shooters – are expected to train at his facility soon.
“I don’t want to do it myself. Idea is to get more people involved and open more such micro centres,” Bindra says.