Shooting: Gagan Narang credits systematic selection trials as India fields strong

New Delhi, June 12 (IANS): Gagan Narang, who won a bronze medal in shooting in the 2010 London Olympics, on Wednesday praised the national shooting federation for completing a successful selection trials process, allowing India to field a strong 15-member contingent for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The former Indian athlete expressed his delight over the rise of the country's overall performance in the sport over the past few years and credited the same for the development of shooting infrastructure and support from the government.

“We saw an incredible show of talent and grit in the recently held shooting trials for Paris 2024. There were some very good performances. The trials were also held in a very systematic way, using the marking system, providing equal opportunity for the participants to showcase their true potential. The close competition shows how much the sport has grown in the country over the past decade, with more emerging talent from across the country,” said Narang.

He credited the steady growth of the sport to the development of infrastructure pan-India and a well-equipped coaching staff with in-depth knowledge of international standards.

“The Indian shooters have made a mark across global competitions, particularly in this Olympic cycle. Just a few years ago, the shooting scenario was dominated by other nations. But now Indian shooters are finishing in the top ranking across all major events, which is the biggest sign of our growth in the sport. This stark improvement is a result of government investing in infrastructure that is on par with international standards, and leading a scientific approach and methodology adopted by Khelo India Scheme at the grassroots stage,” said Narang.

The Padma Shri awardee who is also a member of the Mission Olympic Cell (MOC), Narang appreciated the effort made by the MOC and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) department to provide support on vital areas like equipment and ammunition, foreign exposure, support staff/sports science staff which plays a very important role in the high performance of the athletes.

Narang's Gun For Glory, with 11 centres established across seven states, has also played a significant role in aiding aspiring shooters with systematic training and scientific approach with dedicated physios and mental trainers apart from the highly experienced coaching staff on the ground.

The shooters from here have dominated in the air rifle event with six out of the 10 participants at the recent Olympic Trials from the Gun For Glory Shooting Academy. There were a total of four in the women’s category and two in the men’s category.

Elavenil Valarivan and Ramita named in the contingent for the Paris Olympics 2024 are from GNSPF. The two shooters will compete in the 10m Women's Air Rifle event along with the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event, continuing the academy’s legacy of producing some of the best rifle shooters in the country.

With only two Olympic quotas available per event, it was a tough road for both Ramita and Elavenil. The top five shooters across each event competed in the four Olympic Selection Trials that were held at Delhi and Bhopal last month. Elavenil, with a score of 254.3 (633.0), and Ramita, with a score of 253.3 (636.4), consolidated their position by finishing first and second, respectively, at the shooting trials that concluded at the Madhya Pradesh Academy in May.

“In our endeavour towards the development of the sport, I am happy that six out of 10 rifle shooters who participated at the trails were from Gun For Glory Shooting Academy. Each one of them showed great spirit and performed to their potential. I feel those who did not make the qualification should draw inspiration from their performances at the trials and strive to achieve good results going forward.”

Now that the shooting contingent is finally announced, Narang rallied behind the participants who will be going through final preparations ahead of their departure for the much-anticipated Paris Olympics where shooting will be among the medal-winning disciplines for India.

“These are exciting times for the sport. I am delighted to see a strong contingent selected by the federation and without putting any pressure on our shooters, I am confident they will put up a good show and add to the overall medal tally for India at the Olympics. My best wishes to the entire shooting contingent,” Narang signed off.



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