Look at the photograph below. This is the home page of the website of Gagan Narang’s new venture `Gun for Glory’ that is India’s first international shooting academy. Located in Pune, the academy is now home to 29 shooters, 23 of who are international shooters. Four of them, including Gagan, have qualified for the 2012 Olympics.
But I return to the picture. `Aim right’ is the key phrase here. A year from now, Gagan Narang would hope for a Delhi Commonwealth Games-like perfect 600/600 performance in London, to be up there on the podium, standing in attention to the strains of the National anthem. It is a dream Gagan has gone to bed with every single night, for many years.
As his name was announced for the Rajiv Khel Ratna award today, it was as if the country was making amends. Last year, Gagan was overlooked in favour of fellow Hyderabadi, badminton player Saina Nehwal. Gagan admits he was demotivated and sad on missing out on the most prestigious sports award in the country.
But I guess it helps sometimes to be trigger happy ! So Gagan turned the disappointment into a positive energy and left his imprint on the CWG in October 2010, winning four gold medals for India.
“I always believed bigger things were planned for me,” says Gagan.
Blame it on the Hyderabadi biryani or whatever, but pressure brings out the best in Gagan. Just like cricketer V V S Laxman. “Yes, that is true. I think I handle pressure much better. It brings out the best in me. It is important to be on the edge.”
But pressure of a different kind is what Gagan wants young shooters to avoid. And that’s what `Gun for Glory’ is all about.
“My parents had to sell their land to pay for my shooting. I do not want any other parents to have to do the same. This academy has everything that a shooter needs. I am a product of the system and it is time for me to give back to the system,” says Gagan.
This is the second big honour for Gagan in 2011; he was conferred with the Padma Shri, interestingly along with Laxman, earlier this year. Union minister Praful Patel called him a one-man army, after his CWG haul. The city of the Big Ben will be the ideal battlefield for Gagan to show that he is a soldier with a big heart, who aims big on the big stage.