Indian players shared their stories in a show hosted by Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu.
What makes an athlete special, the ability to lift one’s game to a different level altogether when he or she is competing at the highest level. The first three episodes of ‘The A- Game’ featured three such personalities – shooter Gagan Narang, billiards and snooker player Pankaj Advani and former long jumper Anju Bobby George.
The show is conceptualized and produced by Baseline Ventures and is being presented by Visa. Gagan Narang who is an Olympic, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallist, holds the world record for shooting a perfect 600 in the 10m air rifle event. He expressed that the World Cup in 2008 was a redemption tournament for him.
“The shooting World Cup in 2008 was like the redemption tournament for me as I had come out of a lot of adversity. My mom was hospitalized and I had to take care of my home and family both. It was a very very challenging situation for me and I am glad that with the support system, I could overcome this hurdle and shoot a world record,” said Gagan Narang.
Gagan Narang also spoke at length about how an athlete can learn more from failure than successful moments. Gagan Narang remarked, “Sport teaches you to handle success and failure with equal amounts of grace. When you are winning you don’t need anyone because you are doing absolutely that you need to do, which is winning.”
Gagan Narang continued, “But it’s when you lose you actually go back to the drawing board and write everything down. Reiterate, refigure what has to happen and what can you learn from them and do better. I have personally learned a lot more from my failures than success because when you fail you can actually go back, think and transform yourself for the better.”
Pankaj Advani, who is a 23-time World champion in billiards and snooker, expressed that his motivation has been winning medals for the country at the biggest stages. He stated, “When I was 21, I felt like the Asian Games was a different platform. There was loads of pressure because not only people from your fraternity are watching you, but the entire sporting world, especially the continent, the Indian officials, the IOA, everybody has their eyes on you and the game, because they want every game to get as many medals as they can.”
The billiards and snooker legend stepped up for his country when India was struggling to put medals on the board in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. Advani said, “I knew that we had won a lot of bronzes and silvers, but I didn’t know that this was going to be the first gold medal for India. So that pressure was not on me luckily, but the pressure of winning gold and defending my gold medal at the Asian Games was definitely weighing heavily on me.”
“When I was at 62 points and I needed 38 more points, I made a very simple mistake and I felt maybe this could be very costly. And then I had the final blow and this time I wanted to compose myself and take a little time and sure enough, I crossed the finish line.”
India’s first bronze medallist at the World Championships in athletics, Anju Bobby George spoke about what motivated her to come back from a career-threatening leg injury early on in her career.
George said, “The doctors told me that I shouldn’t imagine about jumping again because it was completely gone and I was not even able to walk. Then I realized something is happening inside me. I can say that some inner fire was burning inside me. I just wanted to show the world, how much I can do or till where I can reach.”
The long jumper made history at the IAAF World Championships in Paris in 2003, but she faced a major issue in the finals. “Someone took my checkmark. I was doing some drama before the jump. I had to start from a blind spot, but somehow, I managed a 6.70 jump and it was a bronze. There was a lot of drama, but we got the medal,” she concluded.