Rajmond Debevec on how he became good friends with Gagan Narang

The shooting stalwarts bonded over their similar personalities and career graphs and Debevec also revealed a connection with Abhinav Bindra.

By Rahul Venkat

Shooting legend Rajmond Debevec believes that his friendship with Indian shooter Gagan Narang is a meeting of minds as well as a shared shooting career.

The 57-year-old Slovenian, who has three Olympic shooting medals, felt that his journey to an Olympic podium, one of perseverance and heartbreaks, was similar to that of Narang, who won bronze at London 2012.

“I met Gagan long before the 2012 Olympics. I followed his progress and it was only a question of time before he won an Olympic medal and it was a privilege to watch that final,” Rajmond Debevec stated in an interview with The Times of India.

The Slovenian shooter also recalled that he met Gagan Narang in the London Olympics village dining hall the day after the Indian had won bronze and the duo had shared an hour-long conversation.

“We have similar sports personalities and we always share our experiences,” added Rajmond Debevec, who has played host to the Indian when the two went sightseeing in Slovenia a few years ago.

Rajmond Debevec, who won bronze in the 50m rifle himself at London 2012, his third and final Olympic medal, had represented in four Olympics before he finally won gold at Sydney 2000 in the 50m rifle 3 positions.

The story was somewhat similar for Gagan Narang, who had participated in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, missing the final cut in the latter by countback, before finally fulfilling his dream at the London Olympics.

The deep friendship meant that Debevec made an appearance on Gagan Narang’s Instagram live session last month where he lauded the progress of Indian shooters and praised the efforts of his friend’s shooting academy.

The Abhinav Bindra connection

While he shares a good camaraderie with Gagan Narang, Rajmond Debevec also followed the progress of Beijing 2008 gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra since his junior days.

And if things had worked out, the Slovenian could have played some part in the legendary Indian shooter’s epochal moment.

“Not many know this story, but I once got a request from Abhinav Bindra’s father in Nurnberg to coach his talented young son,” Rajmond Debevec revealed. “But I’ve actually never seen myself as a coach, so I had to refuse the offer.

“He showed his brilliant mental strength to defeat the Chinese shooters on their territory and win gold in Beijing,” the Slovenian lauded.