Abhinav Bindra advocates greater use of sports science to enhance performance

A photograph of Abhinav Bindra at an event. Source (X)

India’s first individual Olympic Games gold medalist Abhinav Bindra on Wednesday recalled how when conventional wisdom offered him no solace for a persistent neck problem, a dentist helped him find a solution with a custom-designed dental application to help him increase his range of movement and his shooting accuracy.

Speaking at the inaugural session of Bharat Sports Science Conclave in New Delhi, Abhinav Bindra advocated greater use of sports science to enhance performance and ensure wellness of Indian athletes.

The founder of the Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance, an institution through which he ploughs back to Indian sport, recalled his earliest brush with Virtual Reality in 2008 when he used a prototype developed by the Munich Technical University to stimulate and visualise the Olympic final with effectiveness to become the cornerstone of his mental training.

Aware that personal anecdotes would resonate the most with the audience, Abhinav Bindra also spoke of his experience of using a floatation tank to rehearse the Olympic final in Beijing countless times. “The tank was more than a tool for recovery; it was a vessel for mental rehearsal, a place where the vividness of my visualisation matched the intensity of actual competition,” he said. 

Gearing up for the conclave: 


Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur, who inaugurated the Conclave echoed Abhinav Bindra’s thoughts in hoping that the Conclave would not just be a platform for discussion but be a springboard for action. “I am happy so many stakeholders have come together on one platform. We need to acknowledge the issues that our sportspersons face,” he said.

Pointing at Abhinav Bindra and 2003 World Athletics Long Jump medalist Anju Bobby George, he said they could say that there was not enough emphasis in these areas.  “They had to do things on their own, but things have changed in the last decade,” he said, referring to the institution of the National Sports Science Research Centre in New Delhi.

He said the Government is committed to providing athletes the entire range of support. He cited the example of weightlifter Mirabai Chanu being flown to the St. Louis in the United States of America ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and getting rehabilitation and training under the eyes of renowned Dr. Aaron Horschig.

He said he looked forward to the recommendations from the Conclave on a number of areas in Sports Science. He identified integration of technology, injury prevention and rehabilitation, data driven analysis, nutrition and psychological strategies. “Coaches and athletes must collaborate more with sports science experts to enhance the performance of athletes,” he said.

The one-day conclave, hosted by TransStadia University and funded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports under the Human Resources Development Scheme, included a number of subject experts from across the country.

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