|Full Name||Gagan Narang|
|Date of Birth||06 May, 1983|
When kids my age were picking up toy cars, I used to buy toy guns.
A small boy with bright eyes once went to see a beach carnival along with his parents. Suddenly he noticed a fine streak of balloons at which people were aiming with a toy pistol, and that moment, everything else got dismissed from his view. He started staring the way people focusing to shoot at a particular balloon. The father of that little boy noticed the keen interest of his son in shooting the balloon and led him to take up a try on that. To an utter surprise, the boy shot the balloon streak successfully and left everyone spellbound. The small boy proved his potential in aiming the target quite well and that too in the age of two? The same boy is now known for his finest precision and accuracy and has uplifted the stature of shooting in India by becoming one of the most successful shooters of the nation- Gagan Narang, the first Indian air rifle shooter who qualified for the London Olympics and earned a bar of bronze for the nation in the Games. The shooter has added numerous feathers in his cap, showing flashes of brilliance. He has not only made the nation proud by bringing victories at international stages but also set an example of successfully pursuing the passion for the sport with a firm will and perseverance. Looking at his career statistics, one can be quite assured of his potential to aim the target with the air-rifle. At present, Gagan is known as a successful rifle shooter, a dedicated employee of Air India and a man of humanity who is regarded as an ideal by numerous burgeoning shooters of India. His sports career has now become a guide for youth and his story, a legend.
Born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu to a Punjabi couple Bhimsen Narang and Amarjit Narang, Gagan was completely supported by his parents once they recognised his potentials. Gagan was brought up in Hyderabad where he practised hard for shooting along with his academic courses while studying in Gitanjali Senior School. He never missed any chance to practice aiming targets. Even at his home, he used to perfect his shooting skills by targeting objects at his backyard. Noticing his love for the sport, Gagan’s father gifted him an air pistol when he was only 14; with the belief that one day he would shoot for glory, and he eventually did so.
Narang shot to fame in 2003 by bagging a gold medal at the Afro Asian Games in 10m air rifle event. Post three years, he bagged his first gold medal at the ISSF World Cup, a victory which he replicated in 2010. Narang accumulated numerous medals under his belt in 2006 with his clinical performances at the Commonwealth Games in 10m air rifle (individual and pair) and 50m rifle 3 position events. That was just the beginning of the success streaks of this shooter. Like every Indian athlete, Gagan too had a dream to bring Olympic medals for the nation, and hence he trained hard to get qualified for the London Olympics. His training regimes proved to be so perfect that he scored 704.3 in the pre-Olympic event, held in Hannover. His score was higher than the world record of Thomas Farnik who scored 703.1 in the main event of the Olympics. That was a promising performance, ensuring Narang victory in the upcoming Olympics.
Sport is an important part of the development of kids, and hence, it should be made a part of their curriculum.
While training hard for the Olympics, Narang took active participation in other regional and international events and successfully dominated his realm. He qualified for the ISSF World Cup final of 2008. There, Gagan scored a perfect 600, establishing a new record. After a span of two years, Gagan bagged a silver medal in the individual event as well as the team event of 10m air rifle along with Sanjeev Rajput and Abhinav Bindra at the Asian Games and that too on the opening day of the Games.
After adding accolades to the Indian medal tally with his power-pack performance at the Asian Games; Narang prepared hard to dominate the bigger stage which was the London Olympics of 2012. With a minor difference of .4 from the silver medalist Niccolo Campriani; Narang earned a bronze medal, India’s first medal in 2012 Olympics which was also Narang’s first Olympic medal and the victory was celebrated with much hoopla. Post two years, Narang competed at the Commonwealth Games where he bagged one silver and one bronze medal in 50-metre rifle prone and 50-metre rifle 3 position, respectively. At the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championship of 2017, Narang clinched a silver medal for the nation in 50 m rifle prone.
Sporting culture is needed where marks are given to students for sports in schools, jobs are assured for sportsperson, and sponsors are willing to support them through rough times.
Indeed, Narang has cemented a special place in the Indian sport's history; being the first Indian shooter who registered a countable place in the London Olympics of 2012. He has been the accurate answer of the topsy and turvy challenges that Indian shooters usually face at the international stages. His journey as a shooter is a living testament of what a man can do if he is passionate about his dreams, setting up an example for many burgeoning shooters. The story that began in 2003 became more and more exciting with his performing years and he shot to fame not only in India but across the boundaries of the nation. The nation is genuinely proud to have shooters like him who never shot to miss any opportunity but to bag victory, no matter how hard and far the target may be. We hope India may have shooters like Narang in the upcoming years, bringing streaks of victory and creating history at big stages, uplifting the stature of the nation.
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