Recognition boost for Gagan Narang’s catch ’em young project London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang has been doing grassroot work for budding shooters for some time. In partnership with various state governments, his organisation — Gagan Narang Sports Promotion foundation — has opened 17 ‘Gun for Glory’ (GFG) shooting academies, to train youngsters. For outstanding work in mentoring and coaching, it was honoured by Tata Institute of Social Sciences at the TISS Leapvault CLO awards on Friday. In a chat with Express, the veteran shooter talked about his own and the foundation’s plans. It was soon after his stupendous performance at the 2010 CWG in Delhi, where he grabbed four gold medals, that he decided to start a sports promotion foundation. “After CWG, a lot of parents would approach me seeking guidance for their kids. To address the issue, I thought of starting the foundation. It was a way of giving back to the game, which has given me so much in life and the foundation started in 2011, ” the 34-year-old said on Saturday. Narang considers making the sport accessible his foundation’s biggest success. “Shooting is expensive. A gun costs anywhere between Rs 2.5-3 lakh. There is an entry-level barrier even for talented people. We provide trainees everything, from guns to jackets at a fee of Rs 5, 500. To remove the cost barrier is the best feeling, ” said Narang, who is preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Shooting Championship and Asian Air Gun Championship. The 17 GFG academies have trained about 3, 500 students till now. “German gun manufacturer, Walther, has helped by providing guns free of cost.” Around two months ago, a new initiative — Project Leap — was started to identify next generation shooters who could be medal prospects at international events. Under the watchful eyes of Narang, 23 shooters from different parts of the country were selected after selection trials involving physical and technical skills. “These shooters will be fully funded. The total cost is estimated to be around Rs 1.2 crore, ” Narang noted. Asked who the future stars from the GFG academies could be, he said, “Youngsters like Mahima (Agarwal), Shreya (Agarwal) and Elavenil are already a part of the junior Indian team.” Shreya won silver at the recently concluded KSS Memorial Shooting Championship. What’s next? “We already have two academies here. A third one, in association with Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS), named SATS-GFG Shooting Academy will be launched soon, ” Narang revealed.