The 36-year-old has represented India in four consecutive Olympic games.
Shooter Gagan Narang is an acclaimed personality in shooting and has done plenty over the years to facilitate the growth of the sport in this country. His bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event at the London Olympics will always be remembered fondly by Indian fans, especially after his heart-wrenching exit in the Beijing games, where he narrowly missed out on a place in the final.
Amid these precarious times, Gagan Narang highlighted the importance for athletes to maintain a positive mindset.
“Generally, sportspersons are very positive. It’s rare to find a sportsperson without his/her share of sorrow or defeats. They face numerous challenges and need to find solutions in everyday life. Staying positive is the mantra for any sportsperson and it will keep them in good stead,” he told the Times of India.
Tokyo Olympics have already been postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the veteran recognizes the postponement as a setback for the athletes. He also stated that it has given them much-needed time to pursue other interests.
Gagan Narang said, “For those preparing for Olympics, the lockdown is definitely a setback. But I have spoken to several sportspersons and my trainees. They have started adjusting to the situation. When there are highs, there will be lows too. They have started to find solutions. Some are pursuing their hobbies. Hitherto, because of their tight schedule, they never had time to focus on hobbies. Dhanush Srikanth is painting, which is his pastime. Some others have started singing, cooking etc.”
Top-level sportspersons rarely get to spend enough time with their loved ones as a result of their packed schedule and their on as well as off the field demands. One of the rare silver linings from this enforced break is that these athletes have got a rare opportunity to stay put at home and be close to their family.
The 2011 Padma Shree award winner revealed that he too has taken this opportunity to spend time with his aging parents. He revealed, “I have been shooting for the last two decades and the hectic schedule kept me away from my parents. My father, Bhimsen Narang is a retired chief manager in Air India, and mother Amarjit Narang, are 75. Luckily, only some age-related issues, but I was able to spend time with them. In the last 20 years, this is the longest I’ve been at home and savoured home-cooked food. I’m fortunate to be spending time with them after all these years.”
Gagan Narang reiterated that the current situation isn’t ideal and the shooters will have to put in work again to prepare themselves for the Olympics next year.
“It would be a mixed feeling for the record 15 prospective Olympians, who had qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Games now postponed to 2021. It’s a big setback for shooters who have prepared really hard for the Games because they need to prepare all over again,” he concluded.