India's first Individual Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra lauded the country's performance at the Tokyo Games, terming it a spirited one but said the road to Paris will be difficult given the shorter Olympic cycle.
"It was a historic performance with the best-ever seven medals. There were moments of great triumph and heartbreaks, but that is what sport is all about. We have a good momentum now going forward. I see the next Olympics cycle will be tricky, primarily because of the shorter cycle. Normally athletes get a year post Olympics that allows them to rest and recover, but this time around they need to get back pretty quickly," said Bindra at a webinar organised by ELMS Sports Foundation.
Earlier the Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic by a year and the Olympics cycle was reduced to three years, from usual four, going into the 2024 Paris Games. The athletes will now be left with a challenge of having less qualification events and quotas.
In Tokyo, Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra handed the country its only second Olympics gold. The celebrated shooter believes that bringing in scientific methods and creating a high-performance environment at the grassroots level will be critical going forward.
"We talk about top leaderships but I think we need to get more quality in the second-level of leadership. We need to empower these people with knowledge of how to set a high-performance environment. Incorporating science, technology, engineering, analytics and medicine to athletes' training and development not just at elite level but basing it right at the grassroots level is important," the 2008 Beijing Olympic champion said.
The 38-year-old also felt the country's college level sporting system is not developed effectively enough and needs to be played in a much more meaningful way going forward as we lose a lot of talent in the transition from junior to elite level.