The vision of Gagan Narang and Pawan Singh, who initiated Gun for Glory in 2011, to make shooting easily accessible for everyone, has been a roaring success, as hundreds have been driven to world class performances and international medals.
It was a proud moment for the two to receive the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar from President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.
Commenting that the award was a huge appreciation that would further fuel the dream of guiding future champions to Olympic glory, the former World and Olympic medallist Gagan said that it was both "an honour and a responsibility’’.
He viewed the award as a validation for the "years of hard work’’ and a responsibility to "contribute more towards shaping the future’’.
"We took a small step in 2011 with an aim and vision to make shooting an accessible main stream sport, and help create more medallists. Today it seems we are headed in the right direction,’’ he said.
Gun for Glory has 16 centres across the country. The trainees have won over 165 international medals and many are regular members of the national team.
Apart from regular shooting, the trainees are also provided scholarships, the chance to train with high performance coaches, equipment support, pellet and ammunition testing, apart from professional guidance.
Gagan recalled that his parents had to sell a piece of land to buy him a rifle costing around Rs.1.5 lakh. In an attempt to give something back to the sport, Gagan said that he invested all his cash award from the 2010 Commonwealth Games when he won four gold medals, in starting a project with Pawan Singh.
Summing up the vision, Gagan pointed out that the whole idea was to make the sport affordable and easily accessible to everyone.
"Youngsters need not give up on their dreams for lack of finances or proper infrastructure. It was also important to pass on knowledge and experience to the next generation,’’ said the co-founder, Pawan Singh.
The dream is to guide shooters to Olympic medals.
"We have a definite target going towards Olympics in 2024 and 2028,"said Gagan.
He hoped that more and more corporate houses would step forward to support the cause.
"We hope this award inspires others to come forward and support us in our endeavour," Gagan said.
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