India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra on Sunday expressed the hope that India will get to host the Olympic Games in the near future.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 141st Session here, Bindra, the winner of the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold in 10m air rifle, said, “I hope we get to host the Olympic Games in the near future.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday asserted, while declaring the IOC Session open, that India will leave “no stone unturned” in its efforts to organise the 2036 Olympics.
Modi had also said that India wishes to host the 2029 Youth Olympics.
Speaking on the Olympic Value Education Program (OVEP) launched in Odisha last year, Bindra, while addressing the IOC Session on Sunday, said that more than 15,000 girls had taken up sports for the first time following the launch of the initiative in the state.
“Thanks to OVEP, students’ attendance is up by 12 per cent, and over 15,000 girls have taken part in sport for the first time,” said Bindra, who was India’s only individual gold medallist until javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra entered the club by winning gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The OVEP is a programme funded by the IOC and was launched by the Abhinav Bindra Foundation (ABF) in India last year. Bindra said it has the potential to reach seven million children in Odisha, a number confirmed by IOC president Thomas Bach as well.
Bindra, who is also a member of the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission, added that the programme will also ensure participation of more boys and girls in mixed events.
“Mixed-gender games (mixed team events) are now common; they foster safe interactions between girls and boys and create an environment of learning and respect,” Bindra said.
“Physical activity has increased by 50 per cent among OVEP participants, and seven million children across Odisha have participated in the recent ‘Let’s Move Campaign’,” he added.
The IOC perceives OVEP as a major part of its Olympism365 initiative, which is about increasing access to sport and “bring the health and societal benefits of physical activity to communities”.