Gagan Narang has won many accolades as a shooter, but he feels that the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar that was awarded to his foundation is extra special because it is a recognition of his entire team’s work. Narang received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday.
Over the years, the interest in shooting as a sport has seen a tremendous rise in the country, and 2008 Olympic bronze medallist reckons it has a lot to do with the sport’s individual nature. Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation has trained around 50 international shooters to date. The foundation runs the Gun for Glory academy which now has 16 centres in eight states and some 30-odd coaches.
“Very satisfying, in the sense that the kind of difficulties that we faced earlier. Things have been changing — things have been improving in terms of getting medals and stuff like that. I have won a lot of medals and awards but this is special because it is for our whole team. This is a boost for the youngsters, it will help us fuel our dream of carving out future Olympians,” Narang told Hindustan Times.
“One thing is that the federation and the government have ensured less procedural hassle in terms of (procuring) equipment because almost nothing is made in India. Because of that people are able to access sports goods faster. Also, this is a very individual sport, everything depends on your own performance. It’s also a very mental sport and not so physically demanding initially. So, a lot of people see an advantage in taking to this sport to build up mental health as it teaches you how to focus, how to concentrate,” he said.
The 36-year-old is now focused to help the sport become more accessible and slowly build an ecosystem in which it will naturally grow – the ultimate aim being an Olympic medal, of course. Narang, himself, is working on his shooting, taking consistent training sessions over time.
“I am still competing and want to compete and have started training for eight months. I am shooting fairly well right now. But I am staying in the present and taking things one at a time. So, if it comes, then it comes. If you have to qualify, you have to perform and if the performance is good enough, then it will be,” Narang added.