During the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Gagan Narang, India’s ace shooter had bagged four Gold medals for India winning the 10m air rifle with a perfect score of 600. Later, 2011 kicked off with the conferring of the Padma Shree for 2010 in recognition for his achievements in the shooting arena.
Few months later, Narang now has been nominated for the country`s highest sporting honour – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
Speaking exclusively to Zeenews.com’s Vineet Ramakrishnan, Gagan Narang talked about the value of such awards and also about his preparations for the London Olympics.
Q How does it feel on being conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award?
It definitely feels good. Every award is very dear to me. I am immensely thankful to those who kept an eye on my performances last year and awarded me duly. I am very much humbled with the conferring of India’s highest sporting honour. It was a bumper year for me and I want to vindicate the support and faith of everyone by adding an Olympic medal to my repertoire next year.
Ironically, it was during this time last year, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratana award for 2009 was announced and Narang had publicly expressed his displeasure on missing out. But he came back strongly and the very next day won bronze in the 10 metre air rifle event at the World Championship in Munich to become the first Indian to qualify for London Olympics 2012.
Q. Do you think the honour has come a tad late for your liking?
Not at all, there is nothing of that sort. The award has come to me now and I am very happy. This helps wipe off the memories of the last two years. I am immensely proud and happy for Tejeswini Sawant as well for winning the Arjuna award in shooting. This means two medals for the shooting fraternity.
Q. Do you think these incentives have to be there for any sportsperson to feel motivated?
I believe that sportspersons are highly motivated individuals and yes… such incentives only egg us on to perform much better during competitions. Such gestures most definitely boost the morale.
Q. How are the Olympics preparations going on?
In Commonwealth Games and Asian Games I performed rather well and these were a part of my preparations. I try to be consistent at every competition that I take part in and that’s how my preparations go. I am putting in a lot of efforts on improving my concentration.
Q. 10m air rifle is your premier event and you are currently ranked 9th. Would you be looking to better it?
Well…rankings do not hold that much importance to me, There are a lot of competitions going on all around the globe and it is difficult to keep a tab on the rankings and participate in every one of them. I just try to be consistent wherever I compete.
Gagan Narang concluded in the end by saying, “My thanks to my family, friends and every well wisher who have supported me in the process. This is a huge boost for my academy ‘Gun For Glory’ as well because the young shooters will now go all the way to emulate my feat. I want each and every one of them to do so”.