"Keeping Athletes Committee at the heart of ISSF decision-making." Interview with Abhinav Bindra and Danka Bartekova

The ISSF Athletes Committee recently met in Munich. We talked with Abhinav Bindra - Chairman of the Committee - and with Danka Bartekova - IOC Athletes Committee's member - about the hot topics on the table.

The ISSF Athletes Committee met in occasion of the ISSF Committees meetings held in Munich on 22 and 23 November 2015. Discussions revolved around several topics such as a set of recommendations which were addressed by the ISSF Athletes Committee to the ISSF Championship Organizers, the fight against doping, the use of music during the competitions, equipment control measures, updates on the IOC Athletes Forum and the implementation of the IOC Agenda 2020, a document which will positively impact the world of sport.

A full report about the meetings - the Athletes Committee Bulletin - is available for download on the ISSF website at

During the meetings, we had chance to talk to Abhinav Bindra, the Chairman of the ISSF Athletes Committee, and to Danka Bartekova, a member of the IOC Athletes Committee, and to ask them about the hot topics on the table.

Abhinav, what can you tell us about the meeting? Which were the main issues you have been discussing these two days?

“The ISSF Athletes Committee has been in place for over a year now, and in this period we tried to make it a very good group of athletes and to keep all of them in the heart of the ISSF decision-making process. Our biggest challenge at the moment, in our sport and in all sports, is the complying of the IOC Agenda 2020, and how we can do it best. I think that all shooting athletes should log on the IOC website and read the Agenda, because it will definitely have an impact on our sport’s program, with the main topic being the gender equality.” Says Bindra, who chaired the meetings in Munich. “Shooting is a traditional sport with several events which proved to be very universal in the past years, so we have to find a balance between tradition and evolution, taking decisions that are in the best interest of athletes.”

How was the ISSF Athletes Committee involved in this process?

“The ISSF Ad-Hoc Committee is trying to find the best approach to comply the IOC Agenda 2020, and to do so they rely on our inputs and our opinions, considering any idea that comes from our Committees. We haven’t reached the decision-making stage yet, of course it’s a very challenging situation. Anyway, at the end of these two days we will send some basic recommendations, a basic framework of what we would like to suggest.”

“I would like to point out that the first Committee that received the Agenda was the Athletes Committee.” Added Danka Bartekova. “The administration of the ISSF brought the Agenda 2020 to the athletes in January this year, so we are happy that the ISSF Athletes Committee is included in this process and that our opinion is important to them. And we’re glad that decisions are made keeping the best interest of athletes in mind.”

Talking about the  International Olympic Committee , Danka, you participated in the IOC Athletes Forum recently. What can you tell us about that?

“Related to the Agenda 2020 topic I would like to use the words of the IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach, who said “It’s better to change than to be changed”. I think now we are in the situation where we are changing, and I’m happy that the Athletes are part of this process and have a voice in it.”

“We brought a lot of topic to the Athletes Forum, including, but not only, related to the communication and the rule 40 and 50 of the Olympic Charter, rules that define the commercial activities of the athletes and the commercial aspects of the venues.”

“The IOC has gone ahead and relaxed rule 40, allowing athletes to have a personal campaign with his or her sponsor, also during the Olympic Games, off course under specific conditions.” Pointed out Bindra. “In terms of communication there are many informations available for athletes through the IOC platforms, the first of them being the Athletes’ Hub, which will allow Olympians to connect to each other. The second thing is the Athletes’ Learning Gateway, a place where all Shooting athletes can greatly benefit from. It offers a lot videos on how to improve performances, on how to shape one’s future. It’s available in four different languages and there’s a lot of inspirational and educational material.”

The IOC is going to launch its Olympic Channel. Danka, you are part of the IOC Commission which oversees the project. What are your feelings about it?

The Olympic Channel is the next big project of the International Olympic Committee. In the first stage of development, it will be a multi-device online platform including all sort of contents from different sports. It’s definitely a chance to showcase our sports. At the same time, it will offer appealing tools to follow the athletes not only on the field of play but also behind the scenes and through their training routines.

That’s sounds like a great opportunity…

Indeed it is. We know that the ISSF is working in collaboration with the IOC in the process of developing contents for the Channel. We, the athletes, are absolutely excited about this project: we support it and we are ready to be involved.

Abhinav, the ISSF Athletes Committee looks very active. Is there a message you would like to pass forward to ISSF athletes?

We are here to bring the voice of the athletes into the decision-making process of the International Shooting Sport Federation. Communication is power and we would very much like that all ISSF athletes engage with the Athletes Committee more so that we have your ideas and aspirations at the heart of all our discussions. Everybody please feel free to contact us at any time on  

Marco Dalla Dea