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Fateh Singh won medals for India when shooting had no facilities: Gagan Narang

Speaking to Sportskeeda, Olympic medallist Gagan Narang opens up about the importance of Fateh Singh's success in the early 1990's.

Fateh Singh lost his life during the Pathankot attacks yesterday

The brutal Pathankot airbase attacks saw seven Indian defence personnel lose their lives for their beloved country. Among the deceased was one of India’s first international shooting medallists Subehdar Major (Retd) Fateh Singh. In 1995, he won a gold and a silver at the 1st Commonwealth Shooting Championship in New Delhi. Singh retired from the Dogra regiment in 2009, before joining the Defence Service Corps. He was posted Pathankot in 2013.

A senior member of the shooting team during the early and mid 1990’s, Singh was winning medals for the country way before the notion of infrastructure and facilities were introduced. The shooting fraternity is currently mourning his death. Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang told Sportskeeda, “He was not just a shooter, who lost his life serving for the country. He was an Army man also and he defended the country to his last breath. He was winning medals when there weren’t so many facilities as there are now. I didn’t know him personally but occasionally met him in competitions.”

He added, “He has been a commonwealth gold medallist, when there was no media no limelight and not the same kind of facilities as we have now, but he still came out to be a winner. I cannot imagine how difficult it used to be back then, must have been really really hard as compared to now.”

Indian Army have contributed heavily to the country’s shooting prowess: Narang

During the 1995 games, Singh won his first gold medal in the Big Bore Rifle Three position event and went onto secure silver in the big rifle prone position.

Narang also spoke extensively about the Indian Army’s contribution to shooting in the country. He said, “The Indian army have contributed heavily to the shooting prowess we have as a nation. The Army Marksmanship Unit, which was formed in 2003 has done wonders for the Army. The unit is dedicated to the sport of shooting. If you’re talented you get all the support needed for you to excel in the sport, which a civilian one does not enjoy and has to fend for himself, and also look for sponsors. Being in the AMU on does not need to focus on anything but the sport.”

He added, “I have been brought up in an army background from my mom’s side of the family. They were member of both the Army and the air-force.  I was lucky to have had the facilities but for someone who doesn’t have the access, joining the Army will be a good way to pursure the sport.

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