January 20 - Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra (pictured) has been backed in the dispute over how he prepares for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi later this year by Suresh Kalmadi, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

Bindra, who became India's first ever individual Olympic gold medallist when he won the 10 metre event in Beijing in 2008, has been left out of the Commonwealth Championships next month and the opening two World Cup events because he has preferred to train abroad rather than at home.

But now Kalmadi, the country's most powerful sports administrator, has come out in support of Bindra after meeting his father A.S. Bindra to try to find a solution to the increasingly bitter row.

He has promised to speak to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and tell them that Bindra should be allowed to prepare as he likes.

Kalmadi said: "Abhinav is our lone Olympic gold medalist and he has our full support.

"We have to see what the coaches say and find a way forward.

"He has got a strenuous training scheduled which cannot be disturbed.

"So we have to find a permanent solution.

"I will talk to the NRAI because I can't take any decision on my own.

"We want him to win more medals."

Kalmadi (pictured) last week successfully mediated in the row between Hockey India and the players preparing for the World Cup, which starts in New Delhi next month, who had gone on strike over unpaid match fees and bonuses.

Abhinav's father claimed to be encouraged by the meeting with Kalmadi.

He said: "My motive is that elite shooters who are training abroad should be brought to the same platform as other shooters for selection in the national team by considering their international scores.

"Also, there should be better communication among IOA, Sports Ministry and the national federation.

"Abhinav has spearheaded the issue but he is not pointing finger towards anybody.

"We are not asking for any finances.

"His training schedule has been devised by chief professor of sports science in Munich University.

"He is following the same training module for 15 years.

"He is our lone Olympic gold medallist and is under more pressure to perform.

"Pressure could prove counterproductive for shooters.

"Till now he got a free hand on following his own schedule and he has got used to it.

"So let us cooperate with him and allow him to train the way he likes."

Related stories
January 2010:
 Bindra slams selectors after he is left out of Commonwealth Championships
January 2010: Indian Olympic champion threatens to quit before Delhi
July 2009: Bindra to receive Commonwealth Games baton from Queen
April 2009: Indian Olympic champion dropped from squad for New Delhi
March 2009: India's shooting coach quits