‘Like Sachin winning World Cup,Gagan has realised his dream’

With multiple medals in the World Championships,Asian Games and Commonwealth Games behind him,Gagan Narang went to London looking to complete his collection.

Written by Express News Service | Published: July 31, 2012 1:49:03 am

With multiple medals in the World Championships,Asian Games and Commonwealth Games behind him,Gagan Narang went to London looking to complete his collection. Having already missed out twice — in the previous editions at Athens and Beijing — a haunted look seemed to pass over Narang’s face when TV cameras panned past him after his eighth shot — a 9.9 that momentarily moved him out of the medal bracket.

So,when he raised his rifle to the crowd after confirming bronze with ice-cool scores of 10.3 and 10.7 in his two final shots,he wore the smile of an athlete who had realised his life’s dreams. This was the thought that Pawan Singh — director of the Gun for Glory shooting academy,where Narang trains — felt running through his mind when he watched the 10m air rifle final on TV in Pune.

“He has finally got that Olympic medal,the one thing that had eluded him for so many years,” said Singh,when Newsline finally managed to reach his overburdened phone line. “Just like Sachin Tendulkar finally winning the World Cup last year,Gagan has realised his life’s dream now.”

Was Singh slightly disappointed when Narang’s seventh and eighth shots in the final dropped him out of the reckoning for a potential gold or silver? “A little bit,but I’m happy that he has won India’s first medal,” he said. “After qualifying,I thought he’s definitely in the reckoning for silver or gold,but these things happen. Gagan still has his 3-position and prone events,so he isn’t finished yet.”

Sanjay Sabnis,director of the Balewadi Sports Complex,which houses Gun for Glory,said he was proud of Narang’s feat. “Gagan is a proven performer,and he could have won gold,but in the Olympics,against the very best in the world,anything can happen,” he said. “We are happy,and preparing to celebrate his achievement. We now expect the academy to produce 10 more Gagan Narangs.”

Tejaswini Sawant,who won gold in the 50m prone event at the 2010 World Championships,also trains at Balewadi as part of the state government’s Krida Prabodhini scheme,was thrilled by Narang’s performance.

“I’m happy that he has opened India’s account,” she said. “In qualifying,he scored 100 out of 100 in five of the six rounds,and handled the pressure of the finals well. At such a stage,losing focus for even a fraction of a second can hurt you. Gagan’s mind control was tremendous.”

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