New Delhi, India, June 6, 2021: India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, has written an inspirational letter to the country’s Tokyo-bound athletes saying he hoped they would be able to highlight the power of sport “to bring people together” in these difficult times.
Bindra, who won a gold medal in the men’s 10 metre air rifle at Beijing 2008, addressed his motivational missive to “Dear Team India, dear friends”.
He wrote: “Many congratulations to each one of you for having defeated every challenge that dared stand in your way and securing qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.
“For every athlete, the journey to the Games takes years of rigorous training and is full of hardships and setbacks. It takes immense dedication and resilience to reach where you are now, where only a few special women and men from our nation have gone.”
The 38-year-old Bindra, who is a member of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, praised the athletes for achieving qualification despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
“Your rare feat is all the more exceptional considering how the ongoing pandemic would have forced you to change your respective training plans in order to prepare for these Olympic Games. However, you persevered through these uncertain times by sheer will and determination to emerge as true champions, as Olympians,” wrote Bindra, who retired after taking part at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I want to offer you all my good wishes and support. I also hope you will be able to highlight the power of sport to bring people together in these difficult times," he added.
“As an Olympian, you will forever have the opportunity to be an ambassador of the spirit of Olympism and promote friendship, respect and excellence wherever you go and whatever you do."