Abhinav Bindra – India’s only Olympic gold winner at an individual event – turns 38 today, (Monday). He brought glory to the country at the 2008 Summer Olympics, when he won gold at the 10-meter air rifle event. Bindra has also bagged seven medals at the Commonwealth Games, including four gold, and three medals at the Asian Games. He is also the first Indian to hold the World Championship and Olympic titles at the same time. In September 2016, after the Rio Olympics, he announced his retirement from professional shooting.
As remarkable as his achievements in his sporting career are, his contribution off the field post-retirement is quite inspiring as well. Born in Dehradun in a Punjabi family, he could not get adequate facilities in India when he began his young career in shooting and had to move to Germany for training. This experience made him realize how tough it is for an Indian to make it big in sports, particularly the sports that are not very popular in India. Bindra has been attempting to better this situation in his own capacity.
Bindra started a non-profit organization – Abhinav Bindra Foundation – which aims to bring Sports Science and Technology to India and provide high-performance training facilities to young athletes. The organization has helped over 500 athletes, covering more than 10 Olympic Sports. It works to ensure accessibility to athletes who need the necessary equipment for sports. Bindra wants to create a nation-wide ecosystem for grassroots sport to have facilities at par with leading sporting nations. They also run various scholarship programmes for young achievers.
“I have had the opportunity to lead a life involved in high performance sport for over 20 years. I was fortunate to get the best support with cutting edge science and technology, which is essential to succeed in the elite world of sport,” reads Bindra’s message on his Foundation’s website.
The Padma Bhushan recipient also runs his own company, Abhinav Futuristics Private Limited, which brings science and technology into sports and healthcare.
Bindra’s primary outreach to Indian sports is through the Abhinav Bindra Foundation that works to integrate sports, science, and technology into Indian sports and encourage high-performance physical training. The organization claims to have served over 5000 athletes and medical patients.
Bindra also serves as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, which serves as the link between the IOC and the active athletes around the world.