Abhinav Bindra teams up with Ricky Kej to 'make his mark' in recording studio

India's Olympic gold medallist appears on song to accompany the 'Make a Mark' project to help refuge shooters

By Naveen Peter

From the shooting range to a vocal range, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, has got it all covered.

Bindra added his voice to a song composed by Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej to accompany the 'Make a Mark' project devised by Bindra and his fellow Olympic shooting champion Niccolo Campriani of Italy.

Their initiative has been documented in the Olympic Channel series 'Taking Refuge', which sees Campriani and Bindra bring together a group of refugees to see if any of them has what it takes to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in their own event, air rifle shooting.

Using mental skills refined over years as a professional athlete, the duo coach their new shooters on a journey of learning, rediscovery and finding inner peace through the unifying power of sport.

The series will be available to watch in India from 4.30pm IST on June 15th.

“It all started almost a year ago, a very simple idea that I would never imagine would attract Grammy Awards winners Ricky Kej and other Olympic champions Abhinav Bindra,” Campriani mentioned on his Twitter page.

While the journey for the refugee shooters started about a year ago, training under Niccolo Campriani, for the Italian great it was a trip to Zambia as a part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that proved to be the catalyst.

“That experience had a huge impact on me and made me think about how I could use my status as an Olympian, and the network I had grown, for a cause that I feel close to my heart,” he would tell the Olympic Channel.

Niccolo Campriani’s brainchild

With an aim to use his status as an Olympic champion to inspire other athletes and ‘make the world a better place through sport’, the 32-year-old would present his idea to the local immigration office in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he works with the IOC as the Sports Intelligence manager at the end of 2018.

He would then interview candidates from a select group of local refugees and boil down on the three shooters.

The focus is firmly on helping the shooters attain the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) in 10m Air Rifle for the Tokyo Games so they can be selected by the Refugee Olympic Team or by a National Olympic Committee.

And Niccolo Campriani is assuring that he puts his best into helping them achieve their goal.

"I want to help these guys to have better control of their body, to manage their breathing, to read their heartbeat,” he said.

“It's about moving on from the fears of your past, not forgetting but learning how to deal with it, in order to focus on the present moment. It's a process of self-discovery and I'd like to transfer these skills.”

India connect: Abhinav Bindra

Helping the Italian in his dream venture is his good friend and a legend of the sport, Abhinav Bindra.

The prospective shooters, along with Niccolo Campriani, were in India late last year to learn more from the only athlete from the country to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual medal.

Welcoming the shooting novices to his centre in Bengaluru, Abhinav Bindra believed that the project could help in motivating others to realise their dreams.

“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.


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