Abhinav Bindra welcomes refugee shooters to India
India's only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra is helping refugee athletes in their quest to qualify for the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.
Bindra is hosting the refugee shooters at the Padukone-Dravid Centre just outside Bangalore, passing on the benefits of his considerable experience as they continue their learning of the sport.
"They all started this project having never picked up a rifle before," explained Bindra.
"While they may come from different places, different stories, shooting has bound them, and us together. I am glad to welcome them to this family, as we all strive towards our dreams." India's ace marksman added.
Taking refuge project
The project was the brainchild of three-time Olympic gold medallist in shooting Niccolo Campriani, who is taking three refugees on a journey to try and qualify for the Olympics.
Their story will be documented in an Olympic Channel series Taking Refuge: Target Tokyo 2020 which is scheduled for release next year.
Two of those selected to pursue their Tokyo 2020 ambition have joined Campriani and Bindra in Bengaluru to train with some of India's best shooters, including world number one 10m Air Rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela.
Indian shooting is enjoying a renaissance of late, with a record entry of at least 15 shooters guaranteed a spot at next year's Games.
Supported by the Abhinav Bindra Foundation, the refugee athletes will spend a week at the Academy training as well as learning relaxation and meditation techniques.
There will also be time for other activities such as visiting a nearby equestrian centre, as well as sight-seeing tour of Bangalore city.
Bindra believes the experience will not only benefit them in a sporting capacity, but in a wider sense.
"As an athlete, all of us are committed to the training and the results that drive us; give us purpose. What many of us may not see is the ability that sport has to unite us, to inspire others, to transcend the concept itself. " he said.
For Bindra, the path that these refugees have taken - from shooting novices to the cusp of Olympic qualification - can help motivate others to fulfill their dreams, just as he did at Beijing 2008:
"Taking Refuge as a project draws from this very notion, and we look forward to it not just changing their perspective on life, but inspire more to take the leap, and pursue their excellence."
Taking Refuge trailer
Catch a sneak preview of the Taking Refuge series by watching our exclusive trailer here: