Success motivates Gagan Narang to spread shooting to grassroots

The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist’s shooting academy has helped spread the sport to many corners of the country.

By Rahul Venkat

Gagan Narang has juggled his shooting career with mentoring young Indian shooters for the better part of this decade.

The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist had set up the ‘Guns of Glory’ shooting academy in 2011 to popularize the sport across the country.

And it's producing results.

Gagan Narang first set up the academy, through the ‘Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation’, in Pune and has since established them in 12 more cities across India.

The initiative has produced impressive young shooters in top-ranked rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan, who won her maiden ISSF World Cup gold at Rio, and Junior World Cup bronze medallist Shreya Agarwal.

“Elavenil and Shreya emerged from our effort to take the sport to the hinterland,” he pointed out.

“I feel vindicated,” the Indian shooter told in an interview.

“The idea of the Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation was to help the shooting fraternity by spreading the sport at the grassroots, to enable shooting to become a mass sport.”

Though the 37-year-old has not coached any of the students actively, simply training with them gave the youngsters an opportunity to observe an Olympic medallist from close quarters.

“I trained with them, mentored and motivated them and shared my experiences. When I did so, they picked up my method and progressed well,” the Chennai native explained.

“It also helped me stay in touch with what was happening at the time.”

Gagan Narang stated that the experience helped him raise his own game as well.

Inspired by Barack Obama

The Indian shooter tasted a lot of success in his career.

His crowning glory came at the London 2012 Olympics where he won bronze, but he also won eight gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and three golds at the ISSF World Cup.

However, one of his most special moments came when he won gold at the 2008 Bangkok World Cup, and not just because he created a new world record in the process.

“I won that medal the day Barack Obama was elected to the US Presidency for the first time,” Gagan Narang revealed. “I am greatly inspired by him, by his oratory.”