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Of sports and studies

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Shooting It’s imperative for a sportperson to have a job guarantee, feels Gagan Narang

Gagan Narang
Gagan Narang

He grew up watching the flights take off from the old Hyderabad Airport. agan Narang’s sporting career however was not an easy flight towards stardom until he the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist. This 29-year-old ace shooter, in the City 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.

“Exactly for this reason, I am very keen to ensure a system which produces champions in shooting when I came up with my Pune-like Academy plans in Hyderabad at the Central University SAAP ranges,” the Rajiv Khel Ratna awardee says. “Honestly, the kind of efforts that I expected to see in order to promote shooting, after I won the Olympic medal last year, were simply not there in Hyderabad which gave me my current identity,” rues the senior officer in Indian Airlines. 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.

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

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