“I want to change the colour of the medal in the next Olympics,” said ace shooter Gagan Narang, during an interaction with the media on his first visit to his hometown after he won the bronze medal at the London Olympics in the 10m air rifle competition.

Gagan said he would like to believe that the destination is the starting point of his journey in the world of sports. “It has been a long one, very tiring, with lots of ups and downs. So, this bronze medal will inspire me to dream bigger and win the gold in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil,” he said.

Huge relief

“The Olympics bronze was a huge relief. It was a huge load off my shoulders, Gagan said.

The former world champion also thanked many of his mentors and friends including Niranjan Reddy (former secretary of the Rifle Association of Andhra Pradesh), Gautam and Vikram Manney for their wonderful support when he started off in the sport. “There are so many of them I want to thank. They were the ones who advised to let the gun do my talking for me,” he said with a big smile.

“This bronze had definitely made my collections of medals complete in all aspects,” Gagan said. “I am glad that I handled the pressures of expectations, which were a big burden on my shoulders, pretty well in the 15-year-long journey in shooting,” he added.

Gagan also felt that the Indian sport would usher in a new chapter thanks to the best-ever performance in any Olympics (six medals including two silver and four bronze). “This should be a huge inspiration for many youngsters to take to sports. I am optimistic of a change in the sports culture,” he said.

‘We have the potential’

“Well, there is this talk about the so-called ‘Chinese Wall’ in sports. But I feel it is time that we Indians build a bigger ‘India Wall’ in sports and make things difficult for others. We have the potential and the infrastructure and it is time to launch a concerted effort across the country to tap and groom talent in many disciplines,” Gagan said.

Referring to his academy in Pune ‘Gun for Glory’, Gagan said that it was not started with any profit motive. “The results are already there with my trainees winning 68 medals so far and four of them doing really well in London,” he said.

“I want to be a tutor when I am at the top and don’t want any shooter to feel the need for anything — which I experienced as a young shooter. I am willing to go that extra yard in giving back something to the sport,” he said.

“I appeal to parents to encourage their kids to take to sports. Let me point out that there is nothing like sports to help you win laurels and also see our national flag fly high in a foreign land. This is the spirit, which all of us should look for if Indian sport is to go ahead,” said Gagan.

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