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From Chennai’s Marina Beach to London’s Royal artillery barracks

Published: 31st July 2012 01:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st July 2012 01:15 PM   |  A+A-

Gagan Narang had set  wo­rld records and bagged medals in the Wo­rld Cup, Asian Games and Commonw­ealth Games. But an Olympic medal had eluded him. That dream came true for the 29-year-old shooter on Monday.

“Hopefully, I will be lucky third time,” Gagan had said before leaving for Lond­on. His prayers were answered. His mo­t­her Amarjit Narang went to a nearby Hanuman temple to pray for her son’s su­ccess. There was palpable tension at Flat No 205, Ganga Cauvery Apartments at Shamlal in Begumpet. His father Bh­imsen Narang, a retired chief manager with Air India, was nervo­us. At the end of the 10th round in the fi­nal, when Gagan clinched bronze, the reliev­ed Narangs got up and thanked God.

“He is mentally very strong. He wanted this medal desperately and has ach­i­e­ved it. It is a proud moment for the co­u­­ntry,” said Narang Sr. 

As a young kid, Gagan used to hit the bull’s eye aiming at balloons on Marina Beach in Chennai. “That was more of fun,” said his father.

He showed real int­erest in shooti­ng when the family moved to Hy­d­erabad and started training under Ni­ranjan but the turning point came nine years ago when, as a 20-year-old, he shot gold at the Afro-Asian Games. There was no stopping Gagan after that. At the De­l­hi Commonwealth Gam­es, he won four gold medals overshadowing Be­ijing gold medallist Abhinav Bindra.

But at one time, Gagan had thought of quitting shooting and skipping the Commonwealth Games when he was overlooked for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ra­tna award. Better sense preva­iled and, the next year, he bagged that award.

“It is all about momentum and luck. I always believed that luck plays a big fact­or. The Commonwealth Games was a morale boaster for me. People reco­g­nised my feat. That was huge,” said Gagan, who confessed that he was under pressure ahead of the London Olympi­cs. Of course, Gagan, overcame that pressure.



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