Government should not get involved in sports: Abhinav Bindra

Kolkata: Calling for professionalisation of the sports federations, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra on Sunday said the government should not involve itself in sports.

Speaking at an interactive session at the Kolkata Literary Meet here, the ace shooter harped on the need of having professionals to administer sports so as to catch up with the world.

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“There is more government funding for sports now, but in all reality, I think, the government should really not be involved in the business of sports… it’s not their job,” said Bindra, who in his autobiography had lamented not getting government support.

“The government is trying to do it, but they can’t do it. When the world has got to such a competitive level, you need professionals handling everything, people who know how to run sports, people who have knowledge about sports performance, taking decisions,” he said.

Pointing to the procedural bottlenecks, Bindra said government funding arrive too late.

“The government is doing but they have their limitations. They have their own way of functioning, which takes time and elite athletes do not have the luxury of time,” he said.

Insisting he was not opposed to politicians heading the sports federations, Bindra said hiring professionals to run the administration was indispensable.

“You need to have paid CEOs to look after the day to day affairs, professionals to take care of the technical aspects of the sports, only then things would start to get better,” said Bindra adding there were instances when federations refused to hire professional administrators to keep intact their power.

Even as he described the coming up of various sporting leagues including the kabaddi and hockey leagues as positive, Bindra expressed his scepticism about their efficacy.

“All these leagues are good for sports, but a part of me is still sceptical about them. Most of these leagues are not focusing on the grassroots. I also don’t know if these leagues have the sustainability to last for a period of time. We have to wait and watch.

“But on the whole its good, they have brought in professionalism, and I think it’s a positive thing,” he said.

Talking about his decision to take up shooting as a sport, Bindra confessed that he was fat in his school days and took up shooting only because he “didn’t have to move much”.