chat It’s imperative for a sportperson to have a job guarantee, feels Gagan Narang
He grew up watching the flights take off from the old Hyderabad Airport. Gagan Narang’s sporting career however was not an easy flight towards stardom until the 2012 London Olympics. This 29-year-old ace shooter was in Hyderabad to take part in the National big-bore competitions, took time off to recap some of those defining moments of his career in the company of his parents Bhim Sen Narang and Amarjit - at his Begumpet residence. Interestingly, Gagan Narang’s first love was cricket. For, he first went to Gymkhana Ground to play cricket during the 1995 summer camp under Vijaya Paul. But, after a brief stint, this batsman wondered why not try tennis. That was next year. Finally, thanks to the initiative of former National shooter and his good friend Niranjan Reddy, Gagan took up shooting. “Those days there was no State body to represent in the competitions. I used to compete for Country Club then,” he recalls.
Now, Gagan looks back at the long and illustrious journey which -incidentally began with a “borrowed gun”- with a sense of pride. “In my early days, I remember my parents telling me that they will not buy me a gun for shooting since I had already changed two disciplines in the previous summer camps; they were not sure whether I would continue shooting or not,” he says with a big smile.
“In India, both education and sports are a must. Every deserving sportsperson should have a job guarantee. Otherwise we continue to struggle to produce champions,” he says.
The champion shooter reminds that he is fortunate to have parents who just wanted him to pass the exams. “They were quick to realise my passion for sports. The Olympic medal is a culmination of hard work over the years not just of mine but my parents too. Not many know the kind of sacrifices they made for me,” the three-time World Cup champion feels.
The champion shooter’s advice to the young talent is to enjoy any sport they play with passion and not play for someone else. More importantly, Gagan is already gunning for bigger glory in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. "What happened in London is past. I am already in the preparatory mood for the next Games to improve upon my bronze medal performance," he reminds.