India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra was named on a panel entrusted with the task of preparing the blueprint for the country’s success at the next three Games, the sports ministry said on Monday.
The world’s second-most populous country sent more than 120 athletes to Rio de Janeiro last year with hopes of exceeding the six medals won at London in 2012, but returned with only a silver in badminton and a wrestling bronze.
National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha were also named in the eight-member task force which will help identify core medal prospects for the Tokyo Games in 2020 and nurture talents for the next two editions of the quadrennial event.
The task force will also recommend ways to improve the coaching standards and sports infrastructure in the country of 1.3 billion people.
India have won 28 medals since first competing at the Olympics in 1900 but Bindra remains the only individual gold medallist with his victory in the men’s 10 meter air rifle in Beijing in 2008.
The Indian men’s hockey team won the Olympic gold medal eight times, most recently in 1980. (Reuters)