Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra says Indian shooters have the “potential” to win multiple medals, including gold, at the upcoming Tokyo Games.
The 37-year-old Bindra remains India’s only individual gold medallist at Olympics but heading into the next Games, he is extremely hopeful of welcoming new entrants into what has so far been a “lonely club”.
“Going into the Olympic Games we have he the potential to win multiple gold medals, a realistic shot at winning medals at the Olympics,” Bindra told PTI.
The number of Olympic quotas in shooting currently stands at a record 15 after a highly successful 2019 that saw Indians top all the Rifle-Pistol World Cups and the season-ending World Cup Finals.
This was after they drew a blank at the 2016 Rio Olympics, following which radical changes were recommended by a committee, headed by Bindra himself.
Taking into account the Indian shooters’ incredible performance in recent years, Bindra is optimistic of returning from Tokyo with a rich haul.
“There are chances of coming back with a good haul. I have my fingers crossed,” he said.
Indian shooting’s best show at the Olympics remains the two medals won at London in 2012, but if the exploits in recent months are anything to go by, the country can easily emulate or better that in Tokyo.
Bindra is also very impressed by the young shooters’ ability to compete at the highest level with such remarkable consistency.
In terms of overall medals won in 2019, the tally stood at 21 gold, six silver and three bronze.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bindra made history by winning a gold medal in the 10m air rifle event and ended India’s excruciating wait for an individual gold medal at the Summer Games.
It was also the country’s first Olympic yellow metal since 1980 when its men’s hockey team returned home after finishing top of the podium.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach recently thanked Bindra and Niccolo Campriani for their project ‘Taking Refugee’, under which they are helping refugee athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Games.