New Delhi: Legendary shooter Abhinav Bindra believes once the coronavirus pandemic subsides, it could be a blessing in disguise for Indian sports due to absence of much foreign exposure.
"The post-COVID-19 world could be a blessing in disguise for India. There may not be so much foreign exposure and this may allow India to build proper sporting infrastructure. We need to build our own coaches and our own support staff," Bindra said on Monday.
The entire sporting calendar has come to a grinding halt across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. Major sporting events, including Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon, have either been postponed or cancelled.
Bindra, India's only individual Olympic gold medallist, alongwith Nandan Kamath, lawyer and managing trustee GoSports Foundation, on Monday addressed the newly-appointed assistant directors and other senior officials of Sports Authority of India (SAI) during a special session.
Bindra said that as sports administrators they need to work towards creating an alternate skill development programme for athletes to ensure their well-being in the long run.
"We need to look after athletes because the very nature of sport is that more will fail than succeed. It is important that athletes have backup plans in case their sports career doesn't work out," he pointed out.
Bindra further said that sports administrators need to understand the psychology of an athlete to be able to build them up because athletes pass through different phases because of the nature of sport and the probability of failure.
"An expert can give a larger overview of the various elements that go into sporting performance and that's where you will understand where performance is built and what are the various elements that go into performance and then you will start to have a better and deeper understanding of where performance is built. Results at a competition cannot be the only denominator when planning for an Olympic Games or an Asian Games," he added.
Bindra spoke at length on his experience as an athlete and also on the future of sports in India. "The one per cent (of athletes) makes all the difference in sport, and as our sports ecosystem starts maturing, we need to start focussing on that one percent for all athletes," he said.
Stressing on the need to build a strong talent identification and nurturing programme, he added, "Getting foundations right is important, a lot of work on that has already been started with the Khelo India programme and also emphasis placed on junior programme of different sports.