Bindra, Gopichand stress on focus

Bangalore: A rare confluence of the country’s sporting talent Wednesday provided much inspiration and insight to young aspirants here as elite sportspersons like Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and former All-England badminton champion Pullela Gopichand emphasised the need for hard work and persistence to attain sporting excellence.

The Bangalore-based non-profit GoSports Foundation Wednesday hosted a first-of-its-kind Athletes` Conclave where notable senior athletes and other eminent personalities shared their experiences and knowledge with aspiring Olympians and Paralympians on sports performance and career related topics.

Aiming to provide a platform that enables interaction, information and inspiration, the Conclave played host to top junior and elite Indian athletes across multiple sporting disciplines.

“Victory is more than winning. Victory is never giving up, never losing sight of my goal. Victory is knowing I will do whatever it takes to reach there,” said Bindra who flagged off the Conclave to an audience of 61 athletes, from across the country, across 12 sports, including swimming, table tennis, cycling, golf and tennis, amongst others.

Talking about his Olympic journey, sharing his challenges and experiences in an honest conversation with the athletes, Bindra reassured each of the aspiring Olympians in the room that they all must cultivate the hunger for victory and that hunger will fuel their abilities to be champions.

On a day that also encompassed sessions by Johan John from Nike, Gopichand, senior journalist Sharda Ugra, nutritionist Ryan Fernando and sports lawyer Nandan Kamath, the athletes were educated on topics ranging from communication skills required to deal with the media, choosing the right sports equipment and dealing with the nutritional requirements of sport.

Golfer S. Chikkarangappa was quick to point out that it was the first time that he had seen so many athletes from multiple sports under the same roof.

“I believe that with so many of us here, it is not only a chance for us to learn from the pros, but also a unique opportunity for us to learn from each other,” said Chikkarangappa echoing the views of fellow-GoFoundation athlete and Paralympian Sharath Gayakwad.

Gopichand urged every athlete to stay focused on being a champion. “Don`t look for the faults, the bad luck or the negatives. Look at dreaming of being a champion continuously. Always stay in the dream and focus on the dream while giving everything you do a hundred percent,” said the ace shuttler who drew references from his own personal journey through his many losses, injuries and defeats.