Sports Minister Ajay Maken today congratulated Gagan Narang for winning a bronze medal in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the London Olympics and announced that the ace marksman will be offered a job as a Group A employee in the Sports Authority of India,which is equivalent to an IAS officer.
“Had it not been for one shot,Gagan could have won the gold as well. All these Olympians whether they win a medal or not would be provided an officer grade job with the SAI.
“A medal winner will straight away be promoted as Group A employee which is an IAS officer rank. So Gagan can be an IAS officer,” Maken told reporters outside the Royal Artillery Barracks where Narang opened India’s account in the medals
“Medal winners in the Olympics,Commonwealth Games,Asian Games and World Championships straight away qualify to be an IAS officer. They would also be given cash rewards by central and state governments and by their employers also,” Maken added.
Narang,an Air India employee,shot 103.1 in the nail-bitting 10-shot final for an aggregate of 701.1 after scoring 598 in the qualifying round in which also he finished third.
Narang’s compatriot and defending champion Abhinav Bindra had,however,crashed out in the preliminary round finishing a dismal 16th out of 47 participants with a score of 594 out of 600.
Maken said it would have been great for the nation had Gagan and Bindra both qualified for the medal round.
“It would have been so much better had Gagan and Bindra both qualified for the medal round. But unfortunately,Bindra could not. It would have been great to see two Indian players standing at the podium. It would have been awesome,” he said.
Maken hoped Narang’s bronze medal would open the floodgates of India in the London Games.
“It’s just the start and we will win many more medals. One can say that this medal came a bit late and that too bronze but it’s a positive start and Gagan competed very well today,” he said.
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also congratulated Narang for winning the bronze and announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for the Hyderabad-based shooter on behalf of the state government.
Narang will also be awarded with 2kg pure gold medal by the Sahara Group for his achievement.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra also congratulated Narang and hoped that India will improve its Beijing Olympics medal haul in the ongoing Games.
“This is a good start and we hope that this medal would open gates for many more medals. I am confident that India will improve its Beijing tally in London this time. Whole country must be rejoicing today,” Malhotra said.
India’s acting Chef-de Mission PK Muralidharan Raja was also ecstatic with Narang’s achievement.
“The colour of the medal is not what we wanted. But nevertheless,it’s a bronze and a result (for India). All the officials and Indian athletes are absolutely thrilled. I think it’s a positive start for us,” he said.