Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra reckons the post- Covid-19 world could be a “blessing in disguise” for Indian sports, with an opportunity to build local infrastructure and human resource such as coaches and support staff in the likely absence of foreign exposure.
Bindra was addressing the newly-appointed assistant directors at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and other senior officials in a special online session on Monday.
Speaking about how he sees Indian sport after the pandemic subsides, Bindra said, “The post-Covid world could be a blessing in disguise for India. There may not be so much foreign exposure and this may allow India to build proper sporting infrastructure.
“We need to build our own coaches and our own support staff,” he added while giving his perspective on the impact of the pandemic, which has caused lakhs of deaths and destroyed economies the world over.
Bindra said sports administrators need to work towards “creating an alternate skill development programme” for athletes to ensure their well-being in the long run.
“We need to look after athletes because the very nature of sport is that more will fail than succeed. It is important that athletes have backup plans in case their sports career doesn’t work out,” he pointed out.
Bindra added that sports administrators need to understand the psychology of athletes to be able to build them up through different phases, including the probability of failure.
For the young batch of sports administrators, he had some other important tips too. “It is important to strike relationships with the experts and coaches that various federations have,” he said, suggesting that they should undertake a one or two day workshop with the experts to understand processes.
“An expert can give a larger overview of the various elements that go into sporting performance and that’s where you will understand where performance is built.
“Results at a competition cannot be the only denominator when planning for an Olympic Games or an Asian Games,” the champion shooter said. Bindra spoke at length about his experience as an athlete. “The one per cent (of athletes) makes all the difference in sport, and as our sports ecosystem starts maturing, we need to start focussing on that one percent for all athletes,” he said.
Stressing on the need to build a strong talent identification and nurturing programme, he added, “Getting foundations right is important, a lot of work on that has already been started with the Khelo India programme and also emphasis placed on junior programme of different sports.”