Hyderabadi Gagan Narang is now the pride of the entire country.
This 29-year-old ace shooter from the city has not only brought the first medal for India in the on-going London Olympics but also became the first-ever Hyderabadi to win an Olympic medal (bronze in 10 m air rifle shooting) on Monday, triggering off celebrations.
Not just at the otherwise serene setting of his residence in the by-lanes of Begumpet but also across the sporting fraternity.
And, Gagan also becomes till date only the second one ever to win an Olympic medal from the State (the other being Karnam Malleswari from Srikakulam district).
For someone who missed the qualification for final in the 2008 Beijing Olympics by a whisker, four years later Gagan served a gentle reminder about his champion status in the world of shooting.
“All I need is a bit of luck on the given day. This sport demands the highest level of focus and puts great test to your mental strength. I just hope that this Olympics will be much better off than the previous two,” was how Gagan remarked before leaving for London.
In fact, for the parents – Bhimsen and Amarjit, it was an agonising suspense the whole day as Gagan had switched off his mobile phone to avoid any kind of distraction. So much so, that they preferred to stay back home and watch their son compete in Olympics rather than going to the venue!
All they could do was convey their best wishes and not have a lengthy chat when the shooter himself called them yesterday.
Ironically, this genteel Hyderabadi has to look to Pune to set up his ‘Gun for Glory’ shooting academy after a reportedly indifferent response from the Andhra Pradesh State government. “He did submit his long-term plans to promote the sport and tap talent long back. Since there was no response, he had no option but to look to Pune,” says an official of Rifle Association of Andhra Pradesh.
It was apparent that this former World Cup and world champion was actually very keen to give back something to the sport even while he was pursuing his dream of an Olympic medal. “See the results. Sixty-eight medals won by the trainees in the one year since it was set up in Pune,” reminds the proud father Bhimsen Narang.
“Well, it took me four years to guide my son to win a medal,” he says with a smile.
Well, when the proud mother prepares Gagan’s favourite dish – chole puri – when the latter returns home, they have every reason to feel proud – making the entire nation proud.