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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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Gunning for gloryGagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation’s new Academy aims to train the shooting champions of the futureShooting has been a major medal winning sport at the Summer Olympics for India. Ever since the silver medal haul of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the Athens Olympics in 2004, Indian shooters have consistently brought laurels to the country. In 2008, it was Abhinav Bindra’s gold that made the nation sit up and watch the growing prowess of our shooters. In the London Olympics of 2012, Vijay Kumar Sharma claimed a silver and Gagan Narang bagged a bronze. True, our shooters returned empty handed from Rio Olympics last year, but there is no denying the fact that the shooters would go all out on a medal hunt in the 2020 Olympics scheduled to be held in Tokyo.Providing impetus to that effort is Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation (GNSPF) which has opened the Gun For Glory Shooting Academy (GFG) in 17 centres across the country. The latest addition is the Bengaluru unit of the GFG located at VeloCT, off Sarjapur Road. VeloCT is a multi-sports development centre by SportsVilla Ventures Pvt Ltd.According to Narang and VeloCT, the objective of the Academy is to create awareness on shooting in the city and state, and thus unearth young talent to groom them to national and international levels.Narang is quite optimistic about the success of the Bengaluru Centre. “I wish to reach out to talented kids and nurture them to become world champions by providing them the right guidance at the right time with the right equipment, ” says the Olympian.The training programme at GFG will be monitored by senior coaches from Pune headquarters, who are certified by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF). Narang himself will visit the centre to check on the progress of the trainees. The Academy has the capacity to train 14 wards at a time. There is a resident ISSF certified coach and as the number of trainees increases, more coaches will be hired for the centre.There is no selection process for the beginner level and all shooting enthusiasts can enrol in the programme. The minimum age for enrolment is 11 years.GFG’s Bengaluru unit has been set up in VeloCT’s state-of-the-art complex with 14 shooting lanes for 10 metre air rifle and air pistol practice and possesses latest training equipment.Piyush Sarode, one of the founder of VeloCT says “We are privileged to be associated with GFG, which has been doing good work at the grass root level. Our aim is to bring shooters, shooting fans and the public on the same stage. With GFG, we hope to create world class champions.”It is not just shooting that enjoys pre-eminence at VeloCT, other major sports are also provided with the best of facilities. Currently, it has a football turf and a cricket pitch operational. Football has a FIFA two-star-certified artificial pitch and is suitable for a seven-a-side game and the arena is floodlit. VeloCT also has an exclusive tie-up with the English Premier League Club, Arsenal’s soccer schools for training. In the near future, VeloCT plans to add an indoor heated semi-Olympic sized swimming pool, basketball and volleyball courts, besides a fitness centre.The training programme at Gun For Glory Shooting Academy will be monitored by senior coaches from Pune headquarters
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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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Pune, Jun 22 (PTI) The Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation (GNSPF) today announced its "The Project Leap" plan to train and turn 20 young and talented shooters from different parts of the country into international champions.The selected shooters would be mentored by top international coaches and receive training at state-of-the-art facilities, including sports science support, for a full year, said a media release from the academy founded by the Khel Ratna Awardee and London Olympics bronze medal winner."We identified 55 prospective shooters and put them through an elaborate evaluation process to select the 20 best ones among them, " explained the ace rifle shooter."We looked for various skill-sets that are required for sustained high-level performances in world-level competitions, " he added.Narang's Gun For Glory academies identified the 55 shooters and he personally supervised each centre s selection process to hand-pick the best prospects, the release said, adding that the project is part of the Gagan Narang mentoring programme with Vision 2024."It has taken us a couple of years to bring together all stakeholders and find the right ingredients for project leap.It is now in its truest sense a leap for Indian shooting. We are confident that we will be able to tap and nurture the vast talent in our country and will help in transforming them into world class shooters, " said the 34-year-old shooter who was nicknamed "Goldfinger" in the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne, Australia.Former Indian shooting coach and director of GNSPF, Pawan Singh said that it will usher in a new leaf in the history of the sport in India."The selected shooters will undergo specialised training programmes in their respective Gun For Glory academies. They will be provided with international standard equipment for daily practice, " Pawan said."Through the year, the youngsters will attend different camps as well, with each camp lasting 12 days, in which equal weightage will be given to mental and physical preparation and technical refinement, " he added.
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Do you know that one of India’s premier shooting championships, All India GV Mavlankar Shooting Championship, actually started in the city in 1960? Though Ahmedabad’s brush with shooting goes back to more than half-acentury, it is quite surprising that the city is yet to see a top class shooter in recent times. While young Rushiraj Barot holds a promise for the future in pistol shooting, 18-year-old rifle shooter Elavenil Valanival emerged as one of the stars to look for the future. The first year Bachelor of Arts (English Literature) student of Bhavan’s Arts and Commerce College is already a part of the Indian junior team and has already picked a team bronze medal.The game changerHowever, for someone who started shooting just to try a hand at it, the biggest moment came when she was picked for the ambitious Project Leap – an initiative by London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang to identify next generation shooters. “I think that was the big game changer for me, ” the youngster told Mirrorwhile talking about Narang’s initiative. “Through the initiative, I was introduced into professional training. There are lot of things I didn’t know of and became aware of, ” she explained, adding, “And as my results improved, my interest too increased.”From athletics to shootingTaking about her initiation into the game, Elavenil said, “Actually, it has been three years that I started shooting.” Understanding the astonishment, the youngster said, “I was into athletics. Then I was persuaded by friends to try out shooting.” “The Foundation (Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation) had just launched its programme at our school (Sanskar Dham). It turned out I was good at it and got hooked, ” she added. “The more I started to take part in the tournaments, the more confident I became. And the more confident I got, I started to get better results, ” she said.Among the eliteWhile she divided her time between Pune, Delhi (while training with personal coach Neha Chauhan) and Ahmedabad, Elavenil’s consistent performances at national and international levels saw her move into the elite programme that aimed to nurture the brightest of young talent and monitor their progress on a yearly basis. Talking about her stint with Slovakian Anton Balek, Elavenil said, “Among the several positives, I have been able to work on my swaying tendency in the camo. Identifying this minor issue and rectifying it has not only helped me to shoot confidently, it has also added consistency to my sport.” “As shooting needs both mental and physical improvements, the stint during the camp helped me work on both, ” she added.Need better infrastructureWhile Elavenil is gunning for glory, she just had one problem. “There are many challenges for ashooter. We need good rifles and continuous supply of rounds for our training. But there is one thing that definitely requires immediate attention and it is infrastructure, ” she said, adding, “The Rifle Club is the best in the city, but it is nowhere near being world class.”
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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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