India should come out of the COVID-19 pandemic in "one piece" if it resorts to youth empowerment, leverages the digital landscape and faces the ground realities head on, reckons Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra. One of the country's greatest achievers in sports, Bindra is extremely saddened by the loss of lives and livelihood amid the unprecedented health crisis.
"While I cannot possibly imagine many of the issues that people across the country are facing, I can only offer my best wishes and encouragement, asking them to keep faith in themselves, and do what they can to keep moving," Bindra told PTI in an exclusive interview. "... Supporting one another, and striving together for a better day is what has built this nation, and it is what will take us through this in one piece."
Bindra, 37, is lending his voice and a helping hand through the 'Sunfeast India Run As One' initiative, which seeks to raise funds for the millions of Indians whose lives have been ravaged by the pandemic. "I believe that it is important, wherever possible, to lend a voice to help those in trying times. I learnt about the Sunfeast India Run As One initiative a month or so ago, and was glad to be a part of encouraging further participation. It is for everyone. I would urge all citizens to get involved in the movement and be a part of the change and support livelihood," the former world champion implored.
The champion shooter, who has turned entrepreneur after a glorious career in his sport, is helping people from all walks of lives through Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance (ABTP) and other avenues. According to him, it is not an easy task to focus only on one thing in these extraordinary times, though it is imperative that enough effort and time is invested in coming out with a vaccine.
"In such a scenario, there is no easy answer, and no singular priority. While yes, every effort must be made to find a cure, and find ways to disseminate it quickly, we also need to find ways to continue life in the safest and most sustainable way possible. This means looking at ways to empower the youth to find work, harness the Digital Landscape to find innovations and access to those that need various services, and continuously sharing knowledge and ground realities to keep awareness high."
Even the job losses sparked fear of a global recession, Bindra had promised that there would be no lay-offs in his two organisations amid the pandemic. Bindra runs two separate entities -- Abhinav Bindra Foundation (ABF) and Facility for Physical Excellence (ABTP) which has multiple centres across India. The pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, has already affected more than 50 lakh people in the country while claiming over 80000 lives.