“Rio will be challenging but I’m looking forward to it!”

The first time Gagan Narang picked up a gun, was to shoot balloons on Marina Beach at the age of six. Since then, he has won an Olympic bronze medal, eight Commonwealth Games gold medals and two Asian Games silver medals. He has now set his sights on getting a shinier medal at Rio 2016.

Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 10m Air Rifle event at the London Olympics in 2012.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

The first time Gagan Narang picked up a gun, was to shoot balloons on Marina Beach at the age of six. Since then, he has won an Olympic bronze medal, eight Commonwealth Games gold medals and two Asian Games silver medals. He has now set his sights on getting a shinier medal at Rio 2016.

How are the preparations for Rio coming along?

There is one more qualification tournament left before the selection trials but I feel good. I have been focusing on the Prone events, having won the quota in that. Shooting is largely a technical sport and there have been a few technical niggles. I am trying out new rifles and new ammunition so hopefully I will be more comfortable with the equipment by the end of this year.

We have a training plan sorted and we're also hopeful of a tournament in Rio before the Olympics so that we can check out the range and other facilities. It is going to be really challenging because two of my events are outdoors and wind can be really unpredictable. To be able to read the wind and to be able to make the right decisions is going to be tough.

But winning medals and reaching a few finals always boosts your confidence!

Apart from the shooters, how do you rate India's chances of bettering London 2012's medal tally?

After 2012, I think there is more passion and aggression in Indian athletes. A lot of those who missed out in London are raring to go and the morale is constantly on the up. Qualification tournaments in a lot of sports are yet to happen so we will know in a few months about who got through and who stands a chance of winning medals. Whoever is going there will of course be going to win and hopefully most of them will perform and not buckle under pressure.

What role have the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) played in making you the sportsman that you are today?

It's not about money or the facilities; sometimes you just need someone to take the pressure off you. It may be something as simple as booking tickets or accommodation, or arranging for a physio but that's what OGQ have been providing all the athletes they've signed. They will make you realise your true potential.

We used to train five to seven hours a day and sometimes, we did not feel like training the next day because of body pains. But with the kind of physical and mental support OGQ are providing, we are able to push ourselves even further than what we used to. Even where injuries are concerned, they have helped us identify them quicker and also advised us on nutrition. Medical tests are being conducted more frequently to keep checking our bodies. All this is helping us tap into our hidden potential and achieve results.