Why Abhinav Bindra didn't put his hat in the ring to be IOA President
Legendary Indian runner PT Usha recently became the first woman to lead the IOA. Abhinav Bindra, responding to a question on why he did not run for the post, said his past does not guarantee him a direct ticket.
India's first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra said on Friday he is currently an International Olympic Committee (IOC) athletes' commission representative and has not yet given a thought to a leading administrative role in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Legendary Indian runner PT Usha recently became the first woman to lead the IOA, and Bindra, when asked, why he didn't put his hat in the ring for the post of president, told PTI, "I'm currently an athletes' representative in the IOC. I am a member of the IOC's Athletes' Commission and my role is still valid for a couple of years."
The Beijing Olympic gold medallist was appointed member of the IOC's Athletes' Commission in 2018 where his role is to "act as a bridge between administrators and athletes and serve their best interest."
Bindra, who is in the city as brand ambassador of Tata Steel Kolkata 25K run, also said, it would be a conflict of interest to get into an administrative or executive position in the IOA when he is still with IOC.
"My past doesn't guarantee me a direct ticket to the (IOA) presidency, so I've to be ready for that, that is something I've to think of.
"I want to finish that (my tenure at IOC). I want to contribute to the ongoing project and I am heavily involved with the IOC, whether it be the athletes' mental health or their welfare. I cannot be an athletes' representative and administrator at the same time. I've not thought about it deeply."
On whether he has plans to get into Indian sports administration at a later stage, Bindra said, "I have to win an election first to do that. So I'll have to be politically active as well -- not in national politics, but (in) sports politics to have a chance."
"I'm happy to contribute in different ways -- whether through my foundation or in my role with IOC, etc. You don't necessarily always have to be in a position of power, or in a leadership position to make a difference."
He termed Usha's and shooter Gagan Narang's appointment to the post of IOA president and vice-president respectively as "heartening" and hoped they will take India's Olympic movement to a new high.
"It's heartening now you see many more athletes getting into administration of (Indian) sports. I'm sure their passion for sport continues and they will be able to contribute in an administrative role," Bindra said.
"I would like to take this opportunity of actually wishing all the athletes, who got into administration, the very best. It's for the first time a woman (Usha) is leading an Olympic movement in India; wonderful to see a legendary athlete leading the Olympic movement.
"She, of course, has a tremendous amount of experience as an athlete and coach. She obviously understands what it takes to go through as an athlete, the journey.
"I'm sure that experience will be very valuable in all the work that she puts in. In her success, lies our country's success," he added.
Bindra was particularly excited about teenage shooter Rudrankksh Patil, who recently became a world champion in 10m air rifle.
"He's a fantastic prospect but I don't want to put added pressure on the boy... like him there are many athletes as well. The depth is incredible. The future seems bright."