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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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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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