Crediting Abhinav Bindra for changing the landscape of shooting in the country, rising pistol marksman Abhishek Verma on Thursday said the former’s Olympic gold 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 they too can perform well in the sport and get a medal for India,” 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.

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 initiatives like Khelo India, 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.