Gagan Narang keen on a shot at Tokyo Olympics

Ace Indian shooter Gagan Narang, who presented the Best Young Athlete (Male) honour to young marksman Saurabh Chaudhury, says the fire in him is still burning.

Young marksman Saurabh Chaudhary receives the Best Young Athlete (Male) award from Gagan Narang at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

When Gagan Narang broke into the Indian shooting team for the first time, Saurabh Chaudhary was just a few months old.

That was in 2002.

And 17 years later, Narang gave away the Best Young Athlete (Male) honour to the young shooter at the Sportstar Aces Awards here on Thursday.

The event, supported by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, in association with MRF, was an effort to highlight the untold stories of struggle, fierce dedication and selfless work behind an athlete’s ascension, irrespective of the popularity of the sport.

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“It is good to give away the award to Saurabh. He has been fantastic, at just 16! He was born in 2002 and I came into the team at the same year, so it feels good,” Narang said.

 

Having grown up reading the magazine, Narang was excited to be part of the award ceremony. “Lot of us have grown up with Sportstar, especially those centre spread posters. I have always wanted to be on that poster,” Narang said.

“It feels good to be part of the Sportstar Aces Sports Awards. It’s also the 40th anniversary of the magazine. I am sure we will have some more good times to cherish. The youngsters will cherish these moments,” the bronze medalist at the London Olympics in 2012, said.

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Narang has been instrumental in shaping future talents with his academy, Gun For Glory, and he is happy to play his role of mentoring young shooters. “Not just shooting, across all sports, there are so many young athletes. I am happy to play a small part in their success. I am looking forward to some great performances from the young guns,” he said.

While he is pinning his hopes on the young guns, Narang is also keeping an eye on the Tokyo Olympics, next year. “I am trying for one more shot at the Olympics. There is a qualification round this year. It is not going to be easy but shooting is close to my heart and I continue to shoot as long as I love the sport,” he said. “The fire in me is still burning and I want to give it one more shot.”

He, however, is aware of the strong competition from the young shooters. “I will be very lucky if I am able to (qualify) because the kind of scores the youngsters are shooting are absolutely phenomenal. The future is bright for Indian sports,” said the seasoned shooter.