Three-time Olympic gold medallist Niccolo Campriani is teaming up with India’s Abhinav Bindra to give back to the the sport they love in a unique way, by training refugees and helping them qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The two shooting greats, who called time on their career after the 10m air rifle final at Rio 2016, will collaborate to ensure that the three players — Khaoula, Luna and Mahdi — handpicked by Campriani, have the right training and resources for the next Olympics which is less than a year away.
In a program started by the Italian who won the gold medal at the last Olympic Games, he is mentoring three shooters to reach the minimum qualifying score that will make them eligible for the Refugee Olympic Team, according to a report by The Indian Express.
India’s Bindra is giving them the background support in the form of funding through his foundation.
“I could put together all the equipment I needed through the donations, but I also needed some cash flow for other expenses. When I was exploring different options, I looked into the Abhinav Bindra Foundation. And then after talking to Abhinav and knowing the work he is doing in India, he proposed his help. That was the crucial part of the project,” Campriani told The Indian Express
The three were interviewed by the Italian who was motivated to train refugees after he met some athletes of the 10-member team refugee team that made their debut at the 2016 Olympics.
His initiative received support from the shooting fraternity as athletes sent in equipment while some federations invited them at national competitions and camps, added the report.
The Italian hopes the three can come to India as well, and work with the talent in the country.
“That’s the discussion I have had with Abhinav. It would make a lot of sense, considering the potential gold medalists you might have next year in Tokyo and Abhinav’s role in the project… So if there is a chance, we would love to,” he was quoted as saying.