Among those who are eager to see them perform at the world’s greatest stage is a certain Abhinav Bindra, the country’s greatest shooter and the only individual gold medallist at the quadrennial games. “The current lot of athletes is young and fearless. I think that’s a very happy space to be in,” said Bindra, on the sidelines of the launch of the book, Dreams of a Billion, written by Boria Majumdar and Nalin Mehta.
So have they been seeking him out for advice, now that the competition is only months away? “Well, some of them have been speaking to me from time to time. I don’t even tell them what to do. What I can tell them is my experiences, things that I did wrong, things that I learnt. At the end of the day, they have to find their way. They just can’t follow me and copy what I did. If they have to succeed, they have to find their path,” explained Bindra. “I am very open if they seek my opinion. I will not actively go out and give it myself. I will not actively try to put something into their minds. But if I am asked, I am more than happy to share my experiences.”
Given the onslaught of the coronavirus scare sweeping the world, the Tokyo Games themselves have been plunged into uncertainty, adding a new dimension to the training regime of the shooters who are burning the midnight oil in preparation for the mega event.
So, how do athletes address such an external factor over which they have no control? Or do they even need to worry about it? “Performing at the highest level in sports requires adaptability. Coronavirus or no coronavirus, they are going to the Olympics. They have prepared to the best of their abilities and when they go to the Olympics, some dynamics will change. This is a situation which is new for everybody and they need to adapt to it and try and prepare to the best of their abilities and then wait and watch how things pan out,” insisted Bindra.
“The Games are being projected to take place on schedule as the IOC chief said on Wednesday. The best experts are monitoring the situation, there will be a time when there will be clarity. No point in speculating on whether Games will be postponed,” Bindra said.