Picture by Paralympic Committee of India

Who is Manish Narwal: Five things to know about the shooter who idolises Messi and Bolt

The para-shooter clinched India's third gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics
By Olympic Channel Writer

Indian para-shooter Manish Narwal cliched a gold medal in the men’s 50m pistol SH1 event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday. It helped the Indian contingent seal a one-two finish at the event as Singhraj Adhana won the silver.

Narwal, 19, set a new Paralympics record in the process with a score of 218.2 in the final held at the Asaka Shooting Range. Incidentally, he had qualified for the medal round as the seventh best shooter but displayed sheer brilliance in the final to finish top.

Let us know more about the teenaged para-shooter who has become the toast of the nation with his performance at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics:

Deformity in right-hand

Narwal was born with a deformity in his right-hand. It was heartbreaking for him when he first learnt about his congenital ailments but gradually succeeded in his goal of becoming a sportsman.

"I noticed I was different when I was in the first grade. Something was wrong with my right arm. I cried a lot. I was afraid to be in front of people," he said in a YouTube video.

Dreamt of becoming a footballer

As a child, it was outdoor sports that attracted him the most and he started dreaming of becoming a footballer. But due to the physical deformity, he failed to pursue that career option.

"I always wanted to be a footballer as I loved outdoor sport. But due to my impairment, I couldn't play the game beyond local club level," Narwal told Paralympic.org.

Parental Support

It was, however, due to the support from his father that he took to shooting after a close friend suggested it. His father took him to a shooting range at his home town in Ballabhgarh in 2016 to train under coach Rakesh Thakur and that is where his journey began.

"My father took me to the 10X Shooting Academy in Ballabgarh [India], run by coach Rakesh Thakur. Had he not been there, I wouldn't have excelled in the sport. I owe my success to him," Narwal told Paralympic.org.

Para-shooting world record holder

Narwal has since then accumulated several medals across para-shooting competitions. One of the most defining moments of his career came at the 2021 Para Shooting World Cup as he clinched the gold in the P4 mixed 50m pistol SH1 event with a world record score of 229.1 points. It helped him break the previous world record score of 228.6 held by Serbia’s Rastko Jokic.

Idols and Hobbies

The Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist further likes to take inspiration from the best as he idolizes legendary sprinter Usain Bolt and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.