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Narang takes big leap in honing budding shooters2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang is already credited with nurturing talented shooters like Heena Sidhu, Apurvi Chandela and Rahi Sarnobat, who all trained at his ‘Gun for Glory’ shooting academies for years. For rising stars like Pooja Ghatkar, Mahima and Turhi Agarwal, the 10m air rifle shooter is perfectly playing the role of a mentor. Always ready to give back to the sport, which gave him all the name and fame, the 34-year-old Narang is ready with another ambitious programme — Project Leap — to produce future Olympics champions.He spoke to The Tribune about the project:Excerpts:Tell us about the programme? Project Leap is about identifying young and talented shooters and train them into medal-winning prospects at the international championships, including Olympics. For the first year, we have begun by selecting 23 out of the 57 shortlisted shooters. The shooters went through a trial, where they were asked to showcase their scientific, physical, meta-cognitive and technical skills. Out of the chosen ones, Mahima and Elanevil are already part of the junior national team. The selected shooters will attend a fully-funded Elite Junior Excellence Camp at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune and will be trained by world-renowned coaches Anton Belak (Slovakia) and Kim Seonil (Korea).How does the programme work?The methodology is to organise five camps of 12 days each over a period of one year. It’s about getting 60 days of elite coaching from foreign experts. We have divided the age groups in five categories — 10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18 and 18-20. There will be a dedicated team of professionals to monitor a shooter’s scores, basics and technical skills. When theses shooters get selected for the Indian team, they don’t have to start from the scratch. The coaches at the junior national camps would only be required to finetune their skills. If we are targeting a medal at the 2020 or 2024 Olympics, we have to start from the grassroots level. …but what after 60 days of training?These shooters would return to the Gun for Glory regional academies. Their progress would be monitored by the academy coaches, who have already been trained by foreign coaches. It’s about ensuring that the training imparted to these shooters remains in sync with the programme. The shooters would then be encouraged to participate in domestic competitions to break into the national team.What about your own plans for next year’s CWG and Asian Games?I have just made a comeback into the national team in the 10m air rifle event. At the moment, I am focussing on air rifle and 50m rifle prone events. Prone would, of course, go out of the 2020 Olympic programme. But, it would remain there until the World Championships next year. So, for the CWG, Asian Games and World Championships, I would compete in the air rifle and 50m prone. After the Worlds, I will start focussing on 50m rifle 3-positions.
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Recognition boost for Gagan Narang’s catch ’em young projectLondon 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.
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