Kolkata: Team India's performance in Australia has left Abhinav
Bindra "disappointed", too, but he's not damning the cricketers. Far from
"Come on, this is sport... We won the World Cup less than a year ago...
People must appreciate that winning and losing is part of the game,"
Bindra, India's only individual gold medallist in the Olympics, said on
Speaking on the sidelines of a reception hosted by the affable Sanjay
Wadvani, Britain's deputy high commissioner to Eastern India (and a
Calcuttan for the first seven years of his life), Bindra added: "It's
because we don't have a culture of sport that the reactions are in the
"That's why the principal aim of the Abhinav Bindra Foundation is to
nurture that culture at the grassroots level... Sport, after all, plays a
huge role in the physical, mental and spiritual development of children."
Asked if the Indian public puts sportspersons under too much pressure,
Bindra replied: "But pressure driven by expectations isn't a bad thing...
Depends on how an individual takes it... I take it positively... In any
case, I don't live in the past."
But should some of the seniors in Team India be constantly advised by just
about everybody to call it a day?
Smiling, Bindra answered: "Look, I haven't followed every individual's
performance that closely... What I do know is that I won't find myself in
such a situation... I say that because, thankfully, the media doesn't
chase me... At the most, I'm chased once every four years! So, I won't be
getting advised (regularly)."
According to Bindra, "winning and losing" are no more than the visible
results. What's important is to "appreciate the journey and the process"
undertaken by sportspersons. As he put it: "Nobody wants to fail, yet it
happens... That's life."
Bindra emphasised exactly that during his short speech at the reception.
"The Olympics and sport in general isn't only about medals and glory...
It's about the journey, the person you become along the way, and how you
integrate the rich sporting values into your everyday life. That is the
true power of sport."
Appropriately, Bindra got applauded, by a gathering which included the
Arun Lals and Dola Banerjees, when he said that.
Usually, it's the national cricketers who get besieged for photographs and
autographs, but it was different at the British deputy high commission on
Ho Chi Minh Sarani.
Bindra didn't disappoint anybody and accepted the good wishes with a
modest "I need it."
When someone asked just how much of the effort was mental and to what
degree shooting was physical, Bindra responded: "It's both... You train
four years for an event which gets over in an hour... It challenges you."
We believe him.
The Foundation, meanwhile, has begun working with educational
establishments in parts of the country and, with the Olympics getting
closer by the day, has forged an alliance with the British high
Bindra revealed that the Foundation did have plans to work with
institutions in Bengal/Calcutta. "Right now, it's a work in progress," he
It has been a conscious decision for the Foundation to work quietly. For,
that's how Bindra operates.
- The Telegraph, Calcutta