Bindra’s gold completely transformed shooting’s landscape in India, says Verma

Crediting Abhinav Bindra for changing the landscape of shooting in the country, rising pistol marksman Abhishek Verma on Thursday said the gold medal gave confidence to many aspiring shooters.

In 2008, Bindra became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games at Beijing.

“Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal completely transformed the shooting landscape in our country. It gave that confidence to many aspiring shooters like me that I too can perform well in the sport and get a medal for my country,” Verma said.

For the Tokyo Games, the number of quotas stands at a record 15 after a highly successful 2019 that saw Indian shooters top all the Rifle-Pistol World Cups and the season-ending World Cup Finals.

Verma also managed to book an Olympic quota for India by winning the gold in the 10m air pistol event at the Beijing World Cup.

“I am working really hard towards honing my skills and giving my best shot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Verma said.

The first edition of the Khelo India University Games is being organised in Bhubaneshwar from Feb 22 February to March 1 March and Verma feels the tournament will help get a system in place for aspiring sports persons.

“I think this is the best thing to have happened for grassroots level sports in our country, previously there was a national university championship that used to take place but no one was aware of it,” he said.

“Firstly with Khelo India Youth Games and now with the Khelo India University games taking place I think we finally have a system coming in place which provides a professional competition space for all aspiring athletes of our country.”

Verma also said it is very important that parents encourage their children to take up sports and support them in their endeavour of becoming an athlete.

“Parents play a huge role in building their children’s careers who are aspiring to pursue professional sports. With the government coming up with initiatives like the Khelo India University Games, I feel it is essential for parents to understand that it shouldn’t only be about studies, a career in sports is very much a realistic thought,” said the shooter.