“Winning the bronze medal (10-metre air rifle) in London Olympics is the biggest and best moment of my career so far,” said ace shooter Gagan Narang. He, however, added by saying it can only get bigger if he wins a gold. “But the first is always special. When I stood on the podium at London I just felt like I had the monkey off my back. I sincerely thank people who believed in me and even those who didn’t...”
The 29-year-old shooter feels 2012 will always be etched in his memory. “It is simply because I won my first ever Olympic medal. Ever since I was a 12-year-old my world revolved around it. It took 17 years to make the dream come true,” said Narang. Excerpts...
On taking part in three Olympics (Athens, Beijing and London)
I was the baby of the team when I took part in the 2004 Athens Games. There I was overwhelmed by the occasion. Four years later, I had gone to Beijing fully prepared and was confident of winning a medal. But later felt that we did excessive training. So when it came to the big stage, I fell short. But for London, I had planned better, was ready for the occasion.
On winning the bronze medal at London
It means a lot to me. It also means that I have a lot of responsibility because with greater achievement, comes greater responsibility.
On the Olympic medal and other achievements
Well everything is different. To explain in cricketing parlance, the team winning the World Cup 2011 could be equivalent to an Olympics win. And a World T20 win could be World Championships. The colour and flavour of all others are very different from Olympics.
On gaining recognition for his achievement
Yes, that’s because it is the most publicised, most talked about event.
On his form and preparations for the new year
I am still doing a lot of adjustments so far as my equipment is concerned. I have not shot in competitions yet since the Olympics. I shall have to get into the groove and I’am aiming for early return to the circuit.
On the importance of the new year
It will be important because it is the only time I have to get all my shooting apparatus right and get used to the new rule changes in the sport. There are some interesting times ahead.
On shooting in India
There’s a lot more than can be done and has to be done. Indian sportsmen and women have great potential and if identified and tapped in the right manner by facilitating their entry into sport, it can do wonders. The country has huge potential to make the whole nation proud. Talent identification and blooding them into the system is most important. We have to create a system which offers you complete security so the athletes’ sporting talent could be harnessed to the maximum. That is the key.
On his academy at Pune
The academy was just a way of giving back to the system from which I got so much. We train and identify talent in kids starting from the age of 12 years. I believe with the right kind of guidance the journey which took me 17 years will become much easier for someone who wants to get glory for the nation. Time is of utmost importance in today’s world and one could save a lot of it with the right guidance. Over 75 international medals and four of them made it to the Olympics. The academy also has plans for expanding in other parts of the country and promote the sport in schools and universities.
On his passion for photography
I picked photography from my coach Stass. It is quite addictive. Everytime, I click something good, I show Stass and he gives me his feedback. Then I improvise. It is lot of fun and stress-buster too.