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 forever 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 baby of the team when I took part in the 2004 Athens Games. 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 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 in London
It means a lot to me. 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 Olympic win. And a World T20 win could be World Championship. The colour and flavour of all others are different from Olympics.
On his and preparations for the new season
I am still doing a lot of adjustments so far as my equipment is concerned. I have not shot in competitions after the Olympics. I have to get into the groove. I am aiming for a early return to the circuit.
On shooting in India
There’s a lot more that can be done and has to be done. Indian sportsmen and women have great potential and if tapped in the right manner it can do wonders for the sport. Talent identification and grooming them into the system is most important. We have to create a system which offers one complete security so that the athletes’ sporting talent could be harnessed to the maximum. That is the key.
On his shooting 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. 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 acts as a stress-buster too.