Abhinav Bindra, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist, on Sunday officially announced his retirement from shooting, saying ‘it is time to move on and hand over the baton to the younger generation.’
“It is an emotional day for me,” said Bindra.
A near second Olympic medal was missed by a whisker at the recently-concluded Rio Olympics 2016 and even if he felt gutted, Bindra was not ready to show it in front of his country’s media.
“I came fourth in Rio and now retiring after playing for two decades. In Rio, I didn’t won a medal and stood fourth but it gave me a great closure,” he said.
“I have always believed in working hard. There is no substitute to hard work. I have given my all shooting and have got even more. Thank you once again everyone,” he added.
President of NRAI, Raninder Singh while felicitating India’s ace shooter, said that it was just a small gesture from the side.
“The devotion, the focus with which Abhinav Bindra trains, is an example for everyone,” he said.
Having started his Olympic journey in Sydney back in 2000, the 33-year-old shooter qualified in three Olympic finals including his golden journey of Beijing in 2008 (Athens being the other one) in his pet 10m air rifle, while he missed out in Sydney and London.
Bindra was last month appointed as the chairman of a review committee formulated by the NRAI to “examine and identify in a cold and ruthless manner” the reason as to why shooting failed to secure any medal at the recently-concluded Rio Olympic Games.
However, Bindra refused to answer questions related to the review committee saying he is more interested into developing a pool of players for the future.
“It’s is a very big task especially because you can never break performance into black and white, there will always be grey and that’s the nature of sport. I am the first to acknowledge that so I am not quite interested to look into the performance of the athletes and how prepared they were because that is the matter of past,” he said.
“I have actually rescued myself from the whole interview process because I thought that would be unfair on my part because I was part of the same team. What I am personally more interested is to set up frameworks, systems and protocols which could perhaps helps us to govern sports, organise the sport of shooting and also the whole role of managing performance, monitoring performance and athlete preparation in a more systematic manner.
“And of course to achieve that and in order to come to conclusions the committee obviously has to look back into the past. We need to see what we have done and how we can better that. But I think in seeing how we can improve, I don’t want to look into the past and see what’s gone wrong. My interest just lies in seeing how we can do better.”