Gagan Narang’s venture heaped praises by Sports Minister Valvi
The phenomenal success of Maharashtra shooters on international arena and Gagan Narang’s unique venture to bring shooting closer with its masses on Wednesday prompted Sports Minister Padmakar Vijaysingh Valvi announce a special provision for shooting in the Sports Policy that is in the making.
At the inauguration of the 1st Gun For Glory Shooting Championship, a brainchild of Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation, Valvi said that he has decided to lay more emphasis shooting and thereby make the sport accessible to those interested but stayed away because of high cost of equipment and ammunition.
“Shooters will get guns and ammunition needed for daily practice in much simpler way. The Sports Policy is under preparation and I hope it will be ready in time for our shooters to take advantage of it,” said Valvi before he launched the championship with a ‘gun-shot’.
Praising Narang for his commitment and exuberance in setting up the Gun for Glory Academy, the Sports Minister said the world record holder rifle shooter had taken a huge responsibility and needs all the luck in making it a success.
“We have a rich heritage in shooting. Though it is an individual sport, there is no reason why it cannot get mass appeal,” he said.
Citing Maharashtra’s preference for sportspersons, Valvi said this was only state in the country that gives 25 marks to successful athletes from all listed disciplines and also five percent job reservation in government agencies.
“Tejaswini (Sawant) is one such example. After her success in Munich where she became world shooting champion, we made her Class I officer and gave her free hand to train further rather than join on duty. She is our hope and I am sure she will do well in the future also,” Valvi explained.
The Minister then invited all National shooters to make the Balewadi Ranges their home base. “Our doors are open. Come and shoot even after this competition gets over. Gagan’s academy is the best thing that has happened to this facility,” he rounded off.
GIVING BACK TO SPORT
The academy at Balewadi was Narang’s way to give back to the sport that provided him all what he has now.
“When I began, I had problems in getting guns, ammunition et al. Problems still persist but with this venture I want to make life little easier for the young shooters,” Narang said.
“I want to turn more individuals who are enthusiastic about shooting in serious shooters. By organising ‘Fan Shooting’ I hope to make people understand what this sport is really about,” said Narang.
“They should come here, touch and feel the gun and understand what we do really on the ranges,” he wished.
NEVER LIKE BEFORE PRIZE MONEY
Lauding the efforts taken by Narang, Prof. Sunny Thomas, who until last year had been chief national coach, said the kind of prize money on offer was unheard of in shooting.
“It is not a spectacular sport per se, but with this kind of unique competition shooting will become popular. More and more sponsors are coming forward and hope the future will further be better,” hoped Prof Thomas.
Jocularly describing Narang as an overgrown baby, Prof Thomas said, this was a big step that he has taken—shifting from shooting to administrating the sport. “He has good team behind him and I hope the sport will attract attention of the masses”.
Also present on the occasion were Shirish Kale, who took over as Commissioner of Sports and Youth Welfare only on Tuesday, sports director Narendra Sopal among others.
Kale congratulated Narang for being chosen for 2011 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India’s highest sporting honour, and hoped that those training in his academy will do well and more will qualify for the London Olympics.