India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra on Thursday said the road to the 2024 Paris Games will be difficult and “tricky” given the shorter three-year cycle.

Bindra also lauded India’s performance at the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics.

“It was a historic performance with the best-ever seven medals. There were moments of great triumph and heartbreaks, but that is what sport is all about. We have a good momentum now going forward,” Bindra said.

He added, “I see the next Olympics cycle will be tricky, primarily because of the shorter cycle. Normally athletes get a year post Olympics that allows them to rest and recover, but this time around they need to get back pretty quickly.”

He was speaking at a webinar organised by ELMS Sports Foundation.

Earlier, the Tokyo Games were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic by a year and the next Olympics cycle was reduced to three years, from the usual four, going into the 2024 Paris Games.

The athletes will now be left with a challenge of having less qualification events and quotas.

In Tokyo, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra ended India’s campaign on a high by winning gold. It was the country’s seventh medal at the Games, with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya claiming silver, and badminton player PV Sindhu, wrestler Bajrang Punia, boxer Lovlina Borgohain and the men’s hockey team winning bronze.

Bindra believes that bringing in scientific methods and creating a high-performance environment at the grassroots level will be critical going forward.

“We talk about top leaderships but I think we need to get more quality in the second-level of leadership. We need to empower these people with knowledge of how to set a high-performance environment.

“Incorporating science, technology, engineering, analytics and medicine to athletes’ training and development not just at elite level but basing it right at the grassroots level is important,” said the Beijing 2008 gold medallist.

The 38-year-old also felt the country’s college level sporting system is not developed effectively enough and needs to be structured in a much more meaningful way going forward as it loses a lot of talent in the transition from junior to elite level.

Inputs from PTI