Gagan Narang: India has the best chance to win medals in mixed events

London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang says India's 15-member shooting squad for Tokyo has the perfect blend of experience and youth.

Ace shooter Gagan Narang feels India's 15-member shooting squad for Tokyo has the perfect blend of experience and youth.   -  PTI Photo

India is fielding the best-ever shooting contingent for the Tokyo Olympics. The shooters, who have been consistent at the highest level in recent times, will be high on confidence.

London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang said India's 15-member squad has the perfect blend of experience and youth. “I feel India has the best chance to win medals in the mixed events in both the 10 m air rifle and pistol events,” he told Sportstar on Tuesday.

“Well, those having represented in the Olympics can count on their experience, while the young brigade have no baggage to carry and this can be the biggest plus too,” said the 38-year-old ace shooter.

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“What is most impressive about these young shooters is they are in such training mode that they can afford just to go out there and enjoy the whole competition,” he said.

“The best part is that everything that is required by the shooters is being provided to them nearly at the right time. They were sent out of the country in the peak pandemic so that the training didn’t suffer. There was coordination and an effort with the right approach between the Union Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India and the Federations along with the much needed corporate support," said Narang, adding that the onus is on the shooters to perform.

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“It is imperative for the shooters that everything falls in place on the given day,” he said.

“In terms of experience, most of the Indians who will be in Tokyo have won medals at different levels including World Cups,” the former World Cup gold medallist said.

“Honestly, the mindset of the shooters in the last decade has changed dramatically. In our early days, we were happy to participate in the first Olympics, then think of competing in the next one and then target medals in the next one. Now, these young shooters are raring to take on the best straightaway in their maiden Olympics. Importantly, they are very well-versed with the latest rules too,” Narang said.

“The kind of experience we got in our Olympics has translated into higher benchmarks for these young athletes who just want to go out there and conquer the world," he concluded.

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