Battle-hardened Gagan Narang keen to make 5th Olympics appearance

Gagan Narang must come through the selection trials to be held during the ongoing Kumar Surendra Singh Shooting Championship to be selected in the Indian team for the Brazil World Cup.

Gagan Narang (in picture) says he has training with the desired intensity for the last few weeks.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

London Olympics bronze medallist and ace shooter, Gagan Narang, is facing one of the biggest challenges of his career as he chases the dream of a fifth appearance in Olympics in Tokyo next year.

For, the 36-year-old Gagan will have to make the cut in the selection trials to be held during the ongoing Kumar Surendra Singh memorial All India shooting championship in Delhi to book a slot in the Indian team which will take part in the Brazil World Cup next month.

“Yes, I am more than keen to be there in Tokyo. But, I am also aware of the uphill task ahead and that’s why I have been training for 12 hours daily for the last few weeks at Centre for Sports Science in Chennai,” says Gagan in a chat with Sportstar on Monday.

“The sport has evolved so much for the good and with the Indians doing so well, it is not going to be easy and I am not the one to make an attempt unless I am there completely into it,” says the Hyderabadi, who is now armed with two new German rifles - Walther Kk500 (50m) and Walther Ig300 (air rifle) for both the 50m and 10m categories.

Read: Maintaining scores tougher than securing Olympic quota - Manu Bhaker

“It is pretty clear. We have three major Olympic qualifying events - the World Cup in Brazil next month, followed by Asian championship and the World Cup early next year,” says the experienced shooter.

“I am trying to be there and hope to make it but I repeat it is immensely challenging given the kind of competition and the fact that I am coming back after a low-intensity schedule,” he says.

“With the cut-off date for Olympic qualifiers being around February next, I have to pull off consistently special performances even as the focus right now is on 10m event,” says Gagan.

“Definitely, I fixed all my niggles and training with the desired intensity for the last few weeks,” he said.

“Well, when you have achieved so much, you need fresh motivation to push yourself and that’s what I am trying my best to do,” Gagan signed off.