Gagan Narang – Indian shooter
Padma Shri and the first Indian to qualify for London Olympics
What is the status of shooting sport in India today?
Indian shooting today looks very promising. There are a lot of young talent willing to make a mark in shooting sports. The sport is no longer restricted to the elite. A lot of today’s youngsters have access to the ranges/guns and ammunition. They have begun to turn up at the ranges in large numbers, dreaming of Olympic glory.
Tell us about the policies which are implemented by the government to encourage this sport?
One would have to wait for long periods before importing weapons earlier and by the time weapon would come it would be out dated.
We wouldn’t get the latest equipment earlier and also import duties etc were very high. Now they are easy and we can get the latest equipment as fast as two weeks. The import duties have been relaxed and its makes it easy now for anyone to take up the sport.
What did you feel in terms of your victory contributing to India overall? Please share those precious memories with the readers.
Every medal adds to the sport. That shows people that it is possible to win an Olympic medal if you put in the right kind of effort. It makes the youngsters believe that they can do it too. I think my medal helped a lot of young people dream about being on the Olympic podium. That I think is one of the biggest achievements I have had. I took the medal to schools, gatherings and made kids have a feel of it and they were thrilled.
A medal also brings people’s focus on the sport. A lot has been written and spoken about shooting sports in the media, post the medals we won. That has brought in sponsors and investors. All of this effort has helped the sport grow.
What made you such a perfectionist? Is it tough to stay so committed?
Shooting sport is about perfection. When you want something desperately, you go for it with that desperation. I wanted an Olympic medal with all my heart and was willing to put everything on the line for it, which is why I ended up at the podium. It is not tough to stay committed if you are live and breathe the sport or whatever you perceive to do.
Gun for Glory shooting academy is a not for profit enterprise. What made you start this initiative?
I wanted many more Gagan Narangs to win many more medals for India. I have been a product of the system so I felt somewhat obligated to give back to the system, which is why I started Gun For Glory in 2011.
What kind of assistance are you looking for GFG from the Indian government and the citizens of our country?
It is a not for profit venture so we are always scrambling for funds to provide better training, equipment, to bring in the best of coaches. There are ways to contribute to making this a successful venture and we are eager to get help from willing souls.
What are the qualities should a sharp shooter have? Is shooting still India’s best medal hope?
I would say the biggest quality is to concentrate and stay away from distractions. Yes, shooting is still the biggest medal hope for India.
Can you name any promising shooters from GFG? What’s the most valuable advice you would give to a beginner or junior shooter?
There are many talented shooters in GFG and also outside GFG. Naming a few would be unfair and all have the potential to perform at the highest level.
The advise I give to all is follow your heart, follow your dream and never let yourself down. The rest will take care of itself.
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