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Abhinav Bindra wants junior programme on clean-up menu

Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images

Abhinav Bindra has said the country's junior programme should form a core part of the analysis to be undertaken by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) committee that will review shooters' below-par performance at the Rio Olympics. This was not part of the initial brief given by the federation to the panel, which will be chaired by Bindra.

The committee, which is expected to meet on August 29 and 30, is mandated to submit its report in four weeks. The report will be binding on the federation subject to clearance from the NRAI's governing body.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN on Thursday, India's lone individual Olympic gold medalist said he feels that performance in sport must be viewed in a "holistic" manner and not be broken down into black and white.

"I added the whole issue of the junior programme that wasn't part of the initial reference and spoke to the [NRAI] president [Raninder Singh], trying to explain to him that it is something which is very important," he said. "Unless and until you fix the right system with regard to the junior programme you are not going to create multiple champions."

Dismissing the federation's argument that private coaches were creating "layers" of preparation, Bindra said that there are always bound to be multiple layers in a sport like shooting, given that it is impossible for a national coach to provide personal attention to all shooters in a large group.

The view of the shooters, he feels, should be taken in this regard. "One must understand that shooting is an individual sport and see what sort of coaching possibilities exist in the country and their standards," Bindra said. "This is not a team sport, it's an individual sport. There's always going to multiple layers. Of course getting a new coach just a few months before the Olympics makes no sense."

He also disagreed with some other key observations of the federation -- such as questioning the role of non-profits like OGQ and Go Sports working with shooters and bringing in short-term coaches and mental trainers. "The role of such organisations is to try and fill in the gaps and unless those gaps and those resources are available not only to the elite but also to the grassroots, we will always struggle and the role of such organisations cannot be thrown away," Bindra said.