India’s lone individual Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra says there is not much time to scout talent or make drastic changes to the training structure of elite Indian athletes in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“Since there is hardly any time left to reap the benefits of long-term planning, the possibility of making major changes is remote,” the Beijing Olympic 10m air rifle gold medallist said on the sidelines of the inauguration of a rehabilitation centre at Fortis Escorts hospital.
Eight-member task force
Bindra is one of the eight members of a task force set up by the Sports Ministry in January to prepare an action plan for the next three Olympics.
The panel was set up after a contingent of over 100 athletes won only two medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Badminton star PV Sindhu claimed silver in women’s singles while Haryana grappler Sakshi Malik won bronze in women’s freestyle 58kg division.
Bindra said the interim report has been prepared for the Tokyo Games and will be submitted to the ministry soon. “We have made recommendations and it is up to the government to take a call,” he said, adding there will be a comprehensive report for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
“It is a huge canvas, it will take time to chalk out details,” he said.
Gopichand in panel
Chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, former hockey captain Viren Rasquinha and Dronacharya awardee in hockey, Baldev Singh of Haryana, are also in the task force.
The panel’s convenor is Sandeep Pradhan, director general of Sports Authority of Gujarat. The task force members have been approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government has set up the panel to broad-base the existing system with focus on scouting talent and nurturing them to win glory at global competitions.
The task force has to make recommendations mainly on nine points, including spotting talent for the core group as well as shortlisting coaching staff for 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Infrastructure and scientific training methods are the other key areas where it has to update the government.