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Priyanka Maji: An Inspirational Story Passion is a very overlooked quality. Working on your craft for days and days with blinders on requires a very superior amount of dedication. Priyanka paints a clear picture of how important passion can be. She works a 9 hour shift at Dominos from noon to 10 at night. Prior to that, she puts in 3 hours of serious practice in hopes of mastering her sport; all this at the age of 22. She began rifle shooting four years ago with the NCC in Asansol, West Bengal. She received several accolades including a Bronze medal in her first All India NCC Inter Directorate Shooting Championship. While everything was going well she was challenged with a major obstacle. The thing about these obstacles is that they have the rightful authority to make or break a person. In Priyanka’s case, the obstacle not only made sure she came back stronger but also made her a very mature young adult. A young adult who has a mind open enough to dream big and a heart strong enough to work all out to achieve that dream. She is a rare concoction of the dreamers and the hard workers. Coming back to the obstacle; she could no longer practice shooting with NCC. Seeking a solution, Priyanka joined a private Shooting Club; however, the club had no Shooting Equipment and Rifle to support her. She didn’t give up though! With the support of her family, Priyanka decided to join the Gun for Glory (GFG) Shooting Academy, Pune: A decision that changed her life forever. To support her dream of shooting, Priyanka started working at Domino’s. It might not sound like much, but at her age, children are still testing their luck with the world. On the other hand, Priyanka has a goal in her mind and is willing to do anything to achieve this goal. When you are as focused as her, distractions rarely disrupt your routine. At GFG, Priyanka’s score has been steadily rising and she expects a Gold medal at the next National Competition. What’s more? She doesn’t have to worry about a weapon or a good coach anymore!
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Jabalpur emerges overall champion in Gun for Glory Air Weapon Shooting C’shipProving its excellence, Jabalpur team bagged the overall championship of 4th state-level Gun for Glory Air Weapon Shooting Championship. The championship was organised under the auspices of Madhya Pradesh State Rifle Association.Players of Jabalpur team exhibited superb targeting performance and clinched 38 of total 63 medals in the competition. On the basis of their performance a total of 27 players have secured their berths to participate in forthcoming pre-national competitions. Chief guest on the occasion was Arjun Award recipient, Madhu Yadav while Madhya Pradesh Olympic Association, Secretary, Digvijay Singh and Bhartiya Janata Party, Backward Cell, vice-president, Surendra Singh Rathore were special guests.It may be noted that Gun for Glory Shooting Academy hosted fourth state-level competition and its shooters qualified for pre-national, national and Indian team trials and participated in Asian and World Shooting Competitions.Gun for Glory, Director, Prashant Jain and Coach, Nishant Nathvani informed that the competitions were organised in special presence of Madhya Pradesh State Rifle Association, vice-president, DK Shukla and general secretary, Rakesh Shukla. More than 180 boy and girl players representing different district teams participated in their respective categories.In the championship, Jabalpur team won 11 gold, 13 silver and 14 bronze medals. In Rifle Shooting competition, Ramayani Baghel bagged gold medals while Abhinesh Agrawal, Isha Gupta, Ankit Patel, Shivam Toriya and Shakti Chakrawarty won single gold medals each while Anurag Chouhan and Shivangi Tomar won two – two silver medals, Prasanna Kumar, Harsha Chouhan, Yutika Tiwari and Kushal Singh Bhadoria secured single silver medals each.Piyush Patel, Anurag Singh Chouhan, Isha Gupta, Swati Vishwakarma, Mradul Pandey, Ankit Patel, Rashi Pandey, Muskan Sahu, Vipul Singh Thakur and Yash Jain secured single bronze medals.In Pistol Shooting, Dharmesh Shrivastava, Anuj Ratanprabha, Shrusti Patil and Yash Agrawal won gold medals while Meghna Malik won two silver, Siddhi Rathi, Viplav Kothari and Hritik Tiwari won silver medals. Ankit Raj Chandrol, Anjali Vigh, Ashutosh Richaria and Devansh Nandvani secured bronze medals.
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Learning from the Masters: How to Get Your Child Started With Shooting.Shooting should be introduced in the school curriculum, says Olympian Gagan Narang, who is also mentoring junior shooters to reach new heights.In his 20th year in the sport, ace shooting champion Gagan Narang is still going strong and gearing up for the Tokyo Olympics. Having made his country proud by winning a bronze medal at the 10m air rifle event at the 2012 London Olympics, Narang went on to triumph at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow with a silver and bronze medal each. His shooting academy, Gun for Glory is considered among the best training centres in India, across different sports. The champion has been helping young shooters to perfect their sport. He spoke to ParentCircle to share his views on children taking up competitive shooting.Q. Shooting is still a very niche sport in India and needs a lot of support. What can be done to popularise it? A. I think shooting needs to find a place in the school curriculum, just like chess. It builds concentration, endurance and stamina. For the sport to grow, the teens and the tweens need to be exposed to it. Once they pick up their rifles/pistols, parents should take the initiative to help them learn and actively participate in the sport. In the beginning it is a good thing if they are exposed to as many sports as possible, so that they can pick from a reasonable range.Q. How can we get more children to be interested in this sport? A. Shut out their iPads and smartphones and get them to the playground. Parents play an active role in that. Electronic de-addiction is very important for today’s generation. Internet is a huge magnet and a distraction at the same time. Unless the time is divided between internet, studies and sports, they won’t manage to channelise their energies into active sports.Q. What are the prerequisites for a child to learn shooting?A. There are no prerequisites really. For any child to learn a sport, he/she has to be interested in it. It all starts with the interest and then the ‘intent’ to do well. Once you have both the ‘I’s in place, there is no looking back.Q. What is the right age for a child to take up shooting? A. I would imagine around 11 years onwards. It is very easy to get the child into correct posture, help develop focus, concentration and then prepare his/her body for the rigours of the sport. The challenge is to prevent him from early specialisation.Q. What role can parents play in supporting the children through their journey? A. Parents really need to be the support cast. They need to realise how much is too much. They should not be doing too much or too little. There are some parents who push children very hard because they want to get instant results, which is not possible in sports. Everything is a process. At times, that ends up in injuring the child. So parents really need to understand the weight of the situation and act accordingly.Q. What are the biggest challenges that one might face in shooting?A. There are several challenges on the road to becoming a professional shooter. Firstly, he/she has to find a mentor and coaches who would give right direction; get the right equipment, get the right programmes, funding and then finally shooting good enough scores to make the national team. There are several stages to it.Q. What are the facilities needed in the country for making shooting more accessible as a sport to aspiring kids? A. One needs a range, accessibility to equipment and coaches. It is not impossible to get that in today’s India but is not easy either. Shooting isn’t a club sports so one has to either get to the ranges or contact the federation for the nearest facility.8. What are the training facilities available? There are several facilities across the country. Gun for Glory has as many as over 15 centres across India. Besides that there are private facilities run by other shooters. The shooting federation too is helpful when individuals approach them.Q. How can children be kept motivated, as the sport needs a lot of practice and precision?A. In the beginning it is the parents and the coaches’ job to keep the kids motivated. And the only motivation should be to win an Olympic medal. Once the kid is into the sport, then he/she is able to motivate himself or herself. There is no need for external factors. Q. Shooting is a precision sport. What kind of life skills does it enhance?A. It makes one a complete individual. You learn professionalism, managing self, discipline, precision. All of these have a huge impact in one’s life because they are essential life skills.Q. You are a true champion. What has been your biggest moment?A. My biggest moment in the sport was the bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012. But shooting 600/600 twice in competition was no less satisfying.Q. You won the bronze at London 2012. Great great feat. But, you also missed the gold by just 1 point. Did you miss it badly? How did you recover from so-near-yet-so-far experience?A. It was very sad to miss out on the gold at London. But a lot of pressure had built up going into the London Olympics and I just had one mission- to win a medal. So it was like the monkey off my back when I won the bronze. However, the one gut wrenching moment was 2008 Beijing Olympics when I missed reaching the finals on countback. That served as the springboard to my successes in the next four years.Q. You had once said that your parents had sold their plot to buy you the gun. Can you elaborate on that story? Does shooting need plenty of sacrifice from parents?A. My dad and mum did sacrifice a lot. I came from a middle class background with working class parents. They went beyond their limits in order to support me and a sport that was a very expensive proposition 20 years ago. Right now, a lot of it is available through programmes at the shooting academies. The reason I wanted to start GFG was to give back to the system – to help children with the facilities I did not have while growing up.Q. Often in shooting, it is seen that the difference between the top place and the tenth place is hardly a point or two. How important is mental strength and should that be a focus area from a very young age for children?A. To be mentally tough is critically important in any sport – more so in shooting. One will get several roadblocks on the road to glory, that is why, it is very important to form strategies and find ways to deal with it. In fact, by winning over those key moments of adversity, brings out the best in athletes.Q. What are the nutritional requirements for a shooter, say at the age of 10? What should the child do to gain stamina? A. Its too early to get so deep into the subject..Keep things simple and as they are initially. Let the child’s mind evolve on its own. Nutrition is important and early detection of food allergies helps in the long run.Q. What’s your message to all the readers of ParentCircle, India’s fastest growing web and mobile platform in the space of parenting?A.Please be patient and give the child, the right guidance.Hitting the Bull’s Eye – Quotable quotes from Gagan“It all starts with the interest and then the ‘intent’ to do well.”“Parents really need to be the support cast. They need to realise how much is too much.”“Shooting makes one a complete individual. You learn professionalism, managing self, discipline, precision.”“One will get several roadblocks on the road to glory. Winning over those key moments of adversity, brings out the best in athletes.”Hall of FameBronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics (10m Air Rifle event)4 gold medals each at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth GamesPrestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2010Shattered the world record at the 2008 ISSF World Cup FinalRuns ‘Gun for Glory’, a world-class shooting academy at multiple locations
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Olympic medallist Gagan Narang says his ‘priority’ is active shooting despite taking up mentoring of lateHe may have taken to mentoring of late, but active shooting remains Gagan Narang’s number one priority and he says there is “no doubt” he is eyeing more international glory, including another shot at the Olympics.After a gap of one year, the London Olympic bronze medallist is back to his pet event – 10m air rifle – and he is gunning to hit top form.“Shooting is my No.1 priority, I love to be around the sport whether it is through mentoring, coaching or whether in terms of my shooting… Right now my own shooting is my number one priority, ” he told PTI during an interview at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges on Thursday.The marksman, who has completed two decades in the sport, added, “I will continue to do it as long as I enjoy doing it. Nobody is in the team because they are shooting for 20 years. you are on the team because you are the best.” The 34-year-old, along with a full-fledged Indian shooting squad, will be leaving for Gold Coast, Australia, on Friday to compete in the Commonwealth Shooting Championships, a test event for next year’s Commonwealth Games.“… And if there is someone else better than me then why not. As long as I am enjoying my sport, shooting well, as long as I am able to win medals for the country I will continue to shoot.“Age is just a number. Every day is a new day and of course, as you progress, there is a different kind of challenges. Definitely, it’s important to have a good amount of drive and motivation, which I have. I am just going to go all out.”Summing up his journey so far, he said sometimes it’s hard to remain motivated after winning so many times across the world.“It’s been good, I have won every medal that was there at every level, sometimes finding motivation after winning so many medals is tough, but the Rio (Olympics) performances are also on the back of my mind and that is motivating .. I am giving it all I have got.”“You need to have long-term vision somewhere. I am taking it one competition at a time because you are as good as your last competition. I am taking it one step at a time towards a bigger goal.”If he makes it to the Tokyo 2020, it will be Narang’s fourth Olympic appearances.He has been mentoring the likes of Pooja Ghatkar and has also tied up the Olympic Gold Quest besides being actively involved with Project Leap and his own Gun For Glory Academy.“When you are mentoring you are always around the sport, whether it’s like project leap and the academy, I love sharing my knowledge and knowledge is something that needs to be always updated, it also needs to be refreshed.“When you are training somebody, a lot of times I have found that it helped me, too. For example, usually, they say that a good shooter or a great shooter can’t be a good coach because he is going to analyse things from his perspective.“But I have been fortunate to train under so many good coaches that I have kind of picked up different techniques from different coaches, and I think the more amount of information you have, sometimes that can get complicated, but, at the same time, it can help a lot of shooters at various levels.“I have seen that while trying to solve somebody’s problem I found that I also probably have the same problem so I thought let me also try and that has helped me.”He said he is constantly trying to keep himself updated with the changing trends in the sport.“As far as technical help is concerned I have friends all over the world and most of them are all top shooters and we kind of exchange notes if we know we have a problem.“Also these days because of social media you get to know about the latest equipment coming in the market much faster.
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GFG’s para shooter Swaroop Ulhankar to represent IndiaGun for Glory shooting academy’s Swaroop Manohar Ulhankar has been selected in an 11-member squad to represent India at the IPC Shooting World Cup in Bangkok from November 5.The Kolhapur-based para shooter came into the reckoning for his gold medal-winning performances at the recent nationals and his fine showing earlier in the KSS Competition conducted by the Paralympic Committee of India.Swaroop, who trains under the head coach of GFG Anton Belak in Project Leap, will participate in the 10m Air Rifle Standing and Prone Competitions. He is confident of a good showing, especially as he has been training with the best equipment and that too under the guidance of the some of the best coaches.“It’s been about four years that I have been training at the GFG and I have been steadily improving. Coach Anton Belak and Yuniatri Iliyas before him have worked on my shooting and I feel a lot more confident now, ” an elated Swaroop said.He was particularly thankful for Narang’s presence at the Academy.“As I am a disabled person, I couldn’t find a coach in my initial days. But Gagan Sir didn’t have any qualms about taking me under his wings and his support and tips have motivated me to do a lot more, ” he added.He explained that Narang made him focus on prone shooting and also gave him tips on how to concentrate better while shooting.“Whenever I saw him at our practice sessions, I saw immense talent in him and I wanted to help him in any way I could. I am glad my advice has improved him and we will continue to leave no stone unturned to help him achieve his dreams, ” Narang, the man behind the GFG initiative, said about his pupil.
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NRAI OFFICIAL SINGH SELECTED FOR ISSF MUNICH WORKSHOPPawan Singh, joint secretary general of National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and co-founder of Gun for Glory (GFG) Shooting Academy, has been selected for the special instructors’ workshop organised by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) to be held in Munich, Germany, on November 14-16.Singh, who was recently appointed the ‘competitions manager’ for the Shooting World Cup Final is selected as ‘A’ licensed jury along with six other shooting stalwarts from across the globe. He is the first from India to be selected for this workshop and also the youngest jury member. All the candidates got participation confirmation for the workshop from ISSF in April.“I am overwhelmed by this opportunity; it is like receiving a ‘lifetime achievement award’. It is indeed a great platform to gain learning experience and exchange views and expertise on the sport. I am glad to be the one representing India at such a forum. Lastly, I would like to thank NRAI and Franz Schreiber, secretary general, ISSF for singing official letter of such once in a lifetime chance, ” expressed Singh jubilantly.Peter Underhill, chairman of the judges committee, identified Singh for his good leadership qualities, communication and personal skills. He felt that Singh has the potential to be an instructor in the rifle and pistol disciplines. Also, Schreiber mentioned in letter that Singh is an asset to both NRAI and ISSF.ISSF started this initiative last year with a motive to uplift instructor and judging standards.Instructors’ workshop is an excellent opportunity for development of shooting as sport, especially in the vital aspect of training judges and maintaining and raising officiating standards. The workshop is designed to be a learning experience where interaction, debate and discussion is encouraged so that participants gain maximum value from it.
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Ahmedabad girl shoots WR equaling score in National trialsWhen junior rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan, 18, took the field to compete in the seniors trials on Tuesday, she had no idea she was going to shoot a world-record equaling score.Participating in only her fourth senior match, all Elavenil wanted to score well, but the Ahmedabad girl finished with a final score of 252.1 to win women’s 10m air rifle gold. She defeated her experienced senior Elizabeth Koshi (247.7) by 4 points, while Rio Olympics participant Ayonika Paul finished third with 226.1.Elavenil equaled the current senior world record which was created by China’s Shi Mengyao in the New Delhi World Cup in January this year. The record was made after new Final rules came into effect from January 1 this year. Although, Elavenil’s score will not be considered official by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) as unless a score is shot at a world-level or continental competition, it is not considered official.Nonetheless, the Gujarat shooter is happy with her match. “I didn’t think too much about the scores, I wanted to shoot well. I am glad I did well to win the first place, ” Elavenil, who is a part of Gagan Narang’s Gun For Glory academy’s Project Leap, said.Having started shooting only three years ago, Elavenil had to slow down considering she had to appear for the standard 12 boards exam. “I had opted for science in 12th and couldn’t spend time on shooting. The only time I had was early in the morning, so I used to get up at 4 am and start training at 5.30 am. But now the boards exam are over and I am focusing on getting a place in the Indian senior team, ” Elavenil, who made it to the India juniors squad this year, told TOI from Ahmedabad.
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