Gagan Narang wears several hats but the one he feels most passionately about is Indian shooting. The Olympic medallist is here as the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) vice president but the sport remains close to his heart.
On Wednesday, Narang was cheering for the Indian girls from the stands.
“Very happy that young athletes are winning medals. The average age of winning has reduced all over and India finds its place among that. It has been a good transition and we are getting stronger by the day,” Narang told Sportstar in an exclusive chat.
“Someone winning a medal at the age of 19 is fantastic – Esha, Ramita, Mehuli, Rudrankksh, Aishwary – so it definitely looks good. We have had some unexpected performances here, specially in team events, and I am looking forward to taking back more shooting medals than the previous editions.”
He added that while the winning age was getting lower, the temperament was getting better.
“When we started, we just wanted to get into the top 20. Then a couple of years later, we wanted to get into the finals. After a few more years, we wanted to get into the medal bracket, which we eventually did. But now, these youngsters are not even thinking about participation or finals. They are only thinking of medals; that too, only the top one. That’s a mindset change in Indian shooting,” he explained.
“I also feel that Indian shooting has seen a generational shift and when that happens, obviously there is a lull in between. But now the medals have started coming in, we just need to guide and protect them and give them what is required -- not more or less – because sometimes, too much also leads to complacency,” he added.
But he also had a word of caution.
“The support and knowledge they are getting has to be the right amount at the right time. We need to work on particular events, like the shotgun events, and areas where are missing narrowly, finishing 4th or 5th,” Narang said.
“We also need to remember that teams come in only in continental events, at the Olympics it’s only individual. The idea is to not compete against a person or country but give your best and hope it’s enough on that day.”
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