Special Correspondent

MYSORE: Abhinav Bindra, gold medallist at the Beijing Olympics, was accorded a rousing reception on the inaugural day of the annual Dussera Games here at the Chamundi Vihar stadium on Saturday.

Overwhelmed by the honour Abhinav Bindra and his father A.S. Bindra announced that the first Abhinav Public School, with special emphasis on sports, that the Bindra family plans to set up all over India will be in Karnataka. The State Sports Minister Gullihatti D. Shekar and District in-charge and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Kumari Shobha Karandlaje promptly promised allocating 50-acre land for the project, that is set to take shape sometime early next year.

The Bindras, boxing bronze medallist Vijender Singh and wrestling bronze medallist Sushil Kumar in whose absence brother Sandeep were all felicitated along with State Olympians Rehan Poncha and Pramila Aiyappa. Later, Bindra declared the Games open.

Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the Games, Bindra spoke about his plans and ambitions for the future. “It will be a challenge to provide good education along with standard infrastructure” said Bindra when asked about his plans of setting up 500 schools all over the country.

It may be recalled that while the school in Chandigarh will be directly under the Bindra family’s control, the other centres will be on franchisee basis with the aim of providing top class infrastructure for Olympic sports and disciplines like — shooting, equestrian, judo, badminton and tennis in particular. “Over a period of time sports will get its due popularity in our country but for our nation to be a strong sporting country we will have to win 30-40 medals regularly at the world stage” said Bindra.

On the BCCI’s support for Olympic events and prompt rewards for the medallists, Bindra said he was very grateful and didn’t envy the cricketers since the game is well structured.

Rathore’s role

“Let’s not dwell into the past and look forward to the future. The sportspersons should be looked after effectively and efficiently. Since 2001 Indian shooters have made their mark on the world stage with great success and Lt. Col. Rajyavardhan (Singh) Rathore’s silver at Athens acted as a tonic for all of us. He gave us the confidence and self belief that we too can achieve Olympic success.”

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