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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 today.
"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."
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 eye sight 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 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."
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, may be, 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 grassroot 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 said sponsorship is not a problem and it is all about how to use the funds that make the difference.
"One thing is clear that money is not really a problem for the Indian athletes, they have access to funding but how you use that funding and how to get that expertise around that is the problem," he said.
"We need to have right nurturing for athletes, we need to have the right people around. If you have C grade coaches, then we have to expect C grade result."
Bindra said athletes in India need to be taught some life skills which can help them to sustain themselves after retirement.
"It is very important to have a balance in an athlete's career. In US, an athlete need to learn a life skill to live a decent life after their career because an athlete's life is more about failures then success," Bindra, who is coming up with a High Performance Centre in Bengaluru, said.
"It is unreasonable to expect a retirement policy for athletes. I think the trick lies in helping them to learn life skills which they can use post their career.
"Their expertise need to be nurtured and channelised back into the system and help them in having a sustainable career from what they have done," he added.