Olympian Bindra says more high-performance centres on the anvil

By PTI Published on Jul 15, 2018 05:11 PM IST

New Delhi: Seeking to bridge the gulf between the advanced technology the world uses and the ones accessible to Indian athletes, Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra plans to set up more high-performance and rehab centres across the country.

"I have plans to scale up. A few of our centres are doing well. I have identified that the best centre currently is the one in Mohali. Things are coming up, I do have plans to open more centres across the country, and I am looking for like-minded individuals to partner with," Bindra said on the sidelines of an event in the capital.

The 35-year-old remains India's only individual gold medallist in the Olympics.

Since retiring from shooting, Bindra has set up what is arguably one of India's top-notch high performance and rehab centres at Mohali and Delhi.

"Unfortunately in India those facilities were absolutely not available, they were not available for sport, they were also not available for normal rehab, neurological rehab, or preventive health care.

"I had access to this doctor in Munich, a very famous sports medicine doctor, who has been associated with football teams, Bolt etc. etc. He has this great setup, a lot of technology that he uses for rehabilitation for not just athletes but normal people also have access."

As an elite athlete, Bindra spent two decades visiting sports science centres across the world and worked with the world's top sports medicine experts to improve performance or recover from injury.

"And that's what I did, I had my first centre in Mohali, I have a centre now in Delhi and my third centre is my biggest, spread across 10000 square feet for athletes.

"It's the philanthropy that I do, I run it through my foundation and all elite athletes, all upcoming athletes have free access to the best of facilities in terms of high performance, rehab, prevent injuries. It's a very interesting, unique journey I have undertaken."

Besides helping the elite as well as upcoming athletes to harness their skills, Bindra is convinced that sports science and technology can help normal people recover from injury or surgery.

"I think hospitals and healthcare institutes are generally more focused on critical care because that's where the economics lies and I think transitional health care is something which has missed out.

"Unfortunately, aftercare is not available in this country and that's where I am trying to bring a change in the system. People deserve the best, people deserve to be healthy."

Bindra is known as much for his attention to detail as he is for his perseverance and persistence.

"Sport in India needs to grow. We have so much talent, it's unbelievable, but all that talent needs nurturing, infrastructure, and all that talent requires the edge that is needed to go out there and win an Olympic gold medal.

"The world is so advanced, technology plays such an important role. The west is just paying attention to that one per cent detail because that one per cent detail is going to be the difference between winning a gold medal in the Olympics and finishing 15th. I am trying to work on that one per cent and making that accessible."