The former Olympic bronze-medalist also vouched for a domestic tournament that could help sharpen Indian shooters .

Esteemed former Olympian Gagan Narang has reinforced the notion that the COVID-19 pandemic would not affect or rather influence the importance of the Olympic Games.

Speaking to WION, he asserted that the postponement of the Games to 2021 would not reduce the significance of the same. “I wouldn’t say that the current crisis will diminish the importance of the Olympic Games because ultimately it comes once in four years,” said Gagan Narang who had won the bronze medal in the 10m Air Rifle event at the 2012 London Olympics.

He believed that the pressure to perform well in the Olympics would continue to exist because it is the pinnacle of sports. However, he stated, “Currently, I would advise the shooters to work on their short-term goals, but completely ignore the Olympics which is scheduled for next year.”

India is currently undergoing a nationwide lockdown to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus. Naturally, the Olympic-bound athletes including the shooters are currently confined in their respective abodes. Their training sessions have been hit and hence there is an apparent curiosity regarding whether the sportspeople involved would be able to seamlessly transition back to their sports once the situation normalizes in the future.

Gagan Narang said, “One of the defining qualities of an athlete is that he or she is always positive, no matter what the situation. You have to be able to learn from the ups and downs in your life. Athletes are bound to go through hardships in their careers, and it is only when athletes stay positive that they can win.”

The athlete also hoped that the National Rifle Association of India would arrange a comparatively small, preparatory tournament for possibly the best shooters in the country. Whilst there are still doubts looming around the future of international competitions, a domestic tourney could turn out to be of great help for the concerned athletes according to Narang.

He proclaimed, “I think a full-fledged domestic competition would be very difficult to organise because of the logistical challenges. But tournaments for about 20 shooters, who are in contention to travel to the Olympics can be arranged to keep them sharp.”

However, the revered shooter also accepted the fact that such a tournament could also be held only when the restrictions imposed due to the lockdown would be eased. “We do now know to what extent travel will open up, so holding domestic competitions could also be a challenge,” he concluded.