Lockdown diaries: What's keeping Olympic medallist Gagan Narang busy?

Olympic medallist Gagan Narang feels the postponement of Tokyo Olympics has forced the shooters to press the reset button on their training. 

File picture of Gagan Narang with his parents.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

The country-wide 21-day lockdown has given Gagan Narang an opportunity to stay at home in Hyderabad and spend time with his parents who haven’t been keeping well.

The Olympian shooter starts his day early, does a bit of workout at home, enjoys his breakfast with his parents and also helps a bit with the daily household chores. 

“This is a good chance to spend time with my parents. It is important to stay indoors and spend time with the near ones,” Narang told Sportstar.

After breakfast, Narang gets busy in arranging lunch for his parents and in-between finds some time for himself.

“I had shot a lot of photographs, and I have finally got some time to sort them out. So, that also takes a bit of my time and I love doing that,” he said.

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With the world coming to a standstill due to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most of the major sporting events, including the Olympics, have been postponed.

And Narang feels the postponement has forced the shooters to press the reset button on their training. 

“Now that the Olympics have been pushed back by a year, it is time to reset the training and then start again once the crisis ends. That’s how it is now,” Narang, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, said.

However, the seasoned shooter agreed that it will be a fresh challenge for all the athletes, across disciplines, to motivate themselves and keep going.

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“They have been preparing for the last few years, so it is challenging for sure. But they need to keep themselves motivated and focus on their game,” he said.

These days, Gagan Narang is busy sorting the old pictures which he had clicked over the years.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

 

“It’s not just tough for the people who have already qualified, it is also tough for the ones who haven’t qualified yet. They have been shooting in competitions and all have gone through rigorous amounts of training in the past one year. That has to continue and the best talent, who is in top form at that time, should be selected,” Narang said.

For the last few years, Narang has been grooming young shooters at his academy and he feels that the COVID-19 will have an immense effect on economy and sports, and for that, the government needs to support. 

“Not only my academy, but we also need to embrace ourselves for the economic situation after the lockdown, where people will be wanting to secure their lives. Once their lives are secured, only then they will think about sports.

"That period, when they are busy with the other aspects, not many would be keen to focus on sport. It will mostly be a luxury, at this time, all the small institutions need to embrace for the impact.”

So, what’s the way forward?

“The momentum we have for sports in the country might get affected slightly for 2024 and 2028 Olympics and that should not happen.

"The government should take steps to kind of strengthen the small centres so that they are supported financially and in terms on infrastructure. That way they can continue with their operations. That would be a necessity,” Narang said.

On Friday, Narang was one of the athletes to be part of the video conferencing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And in his address, the Prime Minister told the athletes to come forward and spread awareness in the times of crisis.

“In his address, the PM told us that in such times, we as a sporting community, should ensure that the people stay indoors and follow social distancing,” Gagan said, adding: “It is very important to follow the guidelines.”

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