India’s Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra has hit out at the nation’s sports coaches and officials, saying they “know nothing” about sport.
“Indian athletes have no respect for most officials,” the 26-year-old told the Times of India.
India won their best ever haul, a gold and two bronze medals, in Beijing.
But Bindra, who won gold in the 10m air rifle event, said there was “no magic solution” to make the underperforming nation a sporting power.
“If we want to get to double digits, we need to target 2016 and start working from today,” he said.
“But the respective federations have no vision and I don’t see that changing. I wish I had a magic solution but unfortunately, I don’t. The IOA has to play a role in building athletes. It does nothing.”
Bindra made his comments to the Times of India after being invited to edit the national paper’s Friday edition.
He said Indian athletes had to “be on good terms with officials because one needs to survive”.
“But most officials, and many of the so-called coaches who travel with the teams, know nothing about the sport.
“The athletes don’t talk about this because their careers are at stake. And the officials unfortunately don’t care.”
He also revealed that he had to fund his travel to Beijing from his training base in Germany, because Indian Olympic officials refused to pay.
Bindra also took a swipe at the country’s cricket-obsessed media, saying Olympic sports did not get the publicity they deserved.
“Why not just rename the sports pages ‘cricket pages’?,” he asked.
All of India’s eight previous Olympic golds came in the field hockey tournament.