Gagan Narang eyeing qualification in three events

London Olympics bronze medallist and ace shooter Gagan Narang says he is determined to qualify in all three events – air rifle, prone and three-position - for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

India's ace shooter and London Olympics bronze medallist, Gagan Narang, was shooting different targets - capturing the images of birds - on his maiden bird watching trip at Ameenpur Lake near Hyderabad.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

London Olympics bronze medallist and ace shooter Gagan Narang says he is determined to qualify in all three events – air rifle, prone and three-position - for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 32-year-old Hyderabadi, who had already booked a slot in the next Olympics with his World Cup bronze last year in the 50m rifle prone event at Fort Benning (US), says that is the only way one can move ahead. “I want to live in the present and not think what happened in the past. You just can’t rest on what you have achieved already. So, the biggest challenge is to peak in all three events before the Rio Games,” Gagan says in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.

“I am definitely looking forward to the huge opportunity of representing India in the three events in the Olympics – air rifle, prone and three-position,” he insisted.

The three-time Olympian is wary of the fact that shooting in one event is itself a huge task and one can easily imagine the levels of focus, training and hard work one has to put in to excel in three categories. “Yes, the preparations are already on with the help of my foreign coach and I hope to be in the right frame of mind,” he says.

“Only one qualifying event is left followed by two Indian selection trials after which the team for the games will be declared. The World Cups this year will have no quota places but will serve as warm-up and test events to get used to performance under pressure,” Gagan explained to a query.

“Because of the neck problem last year, the focus was more on getting back my rhythm. Yes, it was disappointing to have missed out the qualifying mark for a couple of major events. But, I am happy with the things are shaping up with regard to my shooting now,” he said.

“Yes, the whole endeavour is to get as close to perfection as possible which I am confident to do with the help of my foreign coach,” said Gagan, who is also taking time off to engage himself through his Gun for Glory Academy in a talent hunt programme in Telangana State by taking the sport to schools with support from the State Government and the Sports Authority of Telangana.

The multiple medallist in World Cups also says that Indian shooting itself has moved into a different plane of late. “There is every reason to feel confident of a much better medal haul from the shooters in the coming Olympics given the way some of my teammates have been performing,” says the eight-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.