India should not host Olympics unless the country has a realistic chance of winning 40 gold medals, Beijing Games gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra said on Sunday.
“I’m against hosting an Olympic Games at this stage in India. I think our system is not ready to absorb that,” Bindra said during a session at the 2017 Times Lit Fest here.
“It can have some sort of positive benefits in building infrastructure in the city but that can be done without hosting an Olympics,” Bindra said.
“We need to invest in our youth, we need to invest on our athletes, that should be the priority and then when we are in a position to realistically win at least 40 gold medals in the Olympic Games. For me personally, that would be the right moment to host an Olympic Games,” he added.
The 35-year-old, who had quit shooting after finishing fourth in the 10m air rifle final at the 2016 Rio Olympics, spoke at length about his journey to Olympic glory.
“I’m a negative person, I’m not talented, I have poor eyesight and I hate competition. But I had the right, positive people around me, who always believed in me, where I saw hopelessness, they saw hope in me,” he said.
Bindra also spoke about his battle with epilepsy ahead of the Rio Olympics after he was diagnosed with the serious neurological-medical condition in 2014.
“I was left with trembling hands after being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2014. It was a lonely battle but I found a way through. I had a lot of side effects but I took it upon myself to overcome that,” he said.
“I was in hospital days before the 2014 Commonwealth Games but I went on to win gold and finished fourth at Rio,” he added.
Sharing an anecdote that happened during the Rio Games, Bindra said: “I think Rio Games, my last Olympics, was my best performance. During the qualification round, I had kept my rifle on the table and unfortunately, it collapsed. Did it affect my performance, maybe, don’t know. But life is all about facing challenges.”
Bindra said India as a society need to inculcate sports as a culture before salvaging any hopes of winning medals at the Olympic Games.
“We need to understand what we want as a nation, we need to spell out if Olympics is important to us. It will require a lot of grass-root development. It will take time. It is a process which takes 10-20 years to get any result. As a society, we need to make sports part of our culture.”
Bindra also insisted that sponsorship was not a problem and it was all about how to use the funds that make the difference.