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Paris 2024: 'Expect more than 10 shooting medals for India'

Source: PTI
June 13, 2024 18:34 IST
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Shooters

IMAGE: Abhinav Bindra admitted that hopes will be high on the Indian shooting contingent in Paris. Photograph: Kind courtesy NRAI/X

Olympics gold winner Abhinav Bindra on Thursday said promising shooter Rudrankksh Patil was unfortunate to miss the flight to Paris Games, but emphasised that the quota belongs to the country and not to one athlete.

Patil, who had bagged a 10m air rifle quota for the Paris Olympics, could not find a place in the 15-member Indian squad for the quadrennial extravaganza after finishing behind Sandeep Singh and Arjun Babuta in the selection trials organised by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

As per the Olympic guidelines, a country can only send top two shooters in one event from trials to the Games.

 

“See, it's not a call. It's a matter of selection. There's a due process laid out and they followed the process,” Bindra told the media in Mumbai on the sidelines of the IISM Convocation Ceremony 2024.

“You'll ask the same question in case the process was not followed. But a fair process was put out for everybody, and it was followed,” Bindra added.

Shooters

Bindra further explained his point.

“Well, that is the process laid down for the country. Many countries follow that process. It's not just that India is following that process. The quota doesn't belong to an athlete per se. It belongs to the country and a process was put out well in advance,” he said.

Bindra backed the method which NRAI followed and said a clear system should be followed.

“I think credit the Federation for following the process. I think, as athletes, what do we need? We need a clear system. We need a clear process and we need that clear system and policies followed,” he said.

“That is what has been done, which I think is fair. You know, when you (an athlete) make (it to the Olympics), when (another) athlete doesn't make it, there will be a few who will be disappointed. It is natural. It is fair. It is a normal thing," he added.

Bindra said he was not aware if Patil had reached out to the Federation. The 2022 Asian Games gold medallist has written to NRAI to take his past performances into consideration for selection.

"I am not aware of all of this. I just saw a press release of the team being announced so I have no idea of who he's in talks with,” he said.

“Of course, I feel bad for Rudrankksh, who is a good athlete and who's been doing consistently well. But he's young and I'm sure that there will be many more opportunities for him in the future,” Bindra said.

Shooters

Bindra admitted that hopes will be high on the Indian shooting contingent in Paris after having notched up seven medals — India's best-ever tally — at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I think (it is) the largest ever (medal haul) in history and I think I'm very positive that we'll do well. Of course, I know very well what your next question is going to be, which is we didn't do too well in Tokyo, but I'm positive of a good performance by our athletes,” he said.

“There are so many athletes who have qualified with strong performances. They've undergone a rigorous domestic selection process as well this time. So, I'm quite hopeful and positive that we'll come back with some good results in Paris,” he noted.

“We won seven (medals) in Tokyo without shooting, firing at all. So, if we come close, or if we, it is realistic to expect close to 10, which will put us in double digits so I'm hopeful of that,” he continued.
Bindra, however, did not pick any favourite to bring a medal.

"I don't want to discuss any particular athlete. but I think all of them who have made the team have the potential to go and do well,” he said.

“Of course, Manu (Bhaker) has done well. She's experienced. She has experience of competing in Tokyo, and now I think she's competing in three odd events in Paris so I wish her well."

"I wish her all the best and hope for good results from her, but also from the rest,” he said.

Bindra did not read too much into theories like facing mental blocks on a big occasion. “Well, the event has not happened, so where is the mental block? Let's give them a chance at least,” he said.

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