India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

Gagan Narang’s Olympic bronze medal (10m air rifle) at the 2012 London Games

Gagan Narang overcame the pressure of being India’s sole medal hope in shooting and won the bronze medal in the final round of the 10m air rifle category at the London Games. 

Narang, in third place, was merely 0.3 point ahead of Dutchman Peter Hellenbrand before the final competition shot of the 10m air rifle final at the Summer Games in London on 29 July, 2012. China’s Wang Tao, 0.4 short, was hot on the trail as well.

READ: Gagan Narang on his 2012 London Olympics bronze medal: When mind and body are aligned

The Chennai-born shooter closed his eyes one last time before executing his final shot to near perfection – a 10.7. While Wang hit a 10.4 to jump up to the fourth place, Hellenbrand gave in to the pressure to manage only a 9.7.

One could see Narang passionately mouthing an inaudible “Yes!” as he checked his monitor before heaving a sigh of relief. He had won the bronze medal with a final score of 701.1, while Romanian Alin Moldoveanu (702.1) and Niccolò Campriani (701.5) of Italy registered gold and silver respectively, in the event.


Then President of India, the late Pranab Mukherjee felicitating Olympic Bronze Medalist Shooter Gagan Narang during the felicitation ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on August 18, 2012.


“It was a big, big monkey off my back. This was my Olympics I had participated in the first one when I was a 21-year-old. It went by in a jiffy. (For) the second one, I was much better prepared. I had been World No. 1 two years ago and in good form but then of course things did not work out the way they should have in Beijing. But the fire was burning even brighter within me because I had narrowly missed out,” Narag said.

“Instead of trying for the first or second place, I tried to save my third position. Didn’t want to lose that spot. In the last three shots, I always shot after Wang finished. Because it might happen, that the other score motivates you to tweak your technique and execute the shot better. In all my last three shots, I scored more than him,” he added. 

(Read the full article published in  Sportstar on July 30, 2020 )