Manish Narwal is one of India's biggest prospects to win a medal at the 2021 Paralympics. The para-shooter has a stacked resume and will be looking to add a Para medal to cement his place as one of the best shooters in the country. His journey to the top has not been all that easy. Manish wanted to pursue football as a youngster, but life had other plans for him.
Manish Narwal's early days in shooting
Manish Narwal was born with a congenital ailment in his right hand. However, he found refuge in football and was an avid fan of the game. Narwal wanted to pursue the sport, but his disability hampered his chances of making it as a professional in the sport.
Manish was very clear in his head that he wanted to pursue sports. His dad Dilbagh Narwal was a huge support to this decision and kept searching for alternate sports to enroll Manish into it.
That was when a close family friend, advised them to try out shooting. Manish first tried out shooting at a range in Ballabhgarh. The journey that started off in 2016 has been a memorable one. Initially, Manish didn't really like shooting, as he was more fond of open field sports, but he later realized how good a shooter he could become once he started competing. In an interview with Pioneer Haryana, Manish said:
"I never really had an interest in shooting. I started off with football, wrestling and athletics. I was always used to playing open ground games. I always liked playing outdoor games, rather than indoor ones. When I suddenly came to indoor games, it felt weird at the start, but later I started liking it."
Manish Narwal's rise to becoming the best para-shooter in India
Once Manish picked up the pistol in 2016, there was no looking back for him. The Haryana resident was an absolute menace on the national level. He won 19 national medals between 2016-2019. The Indian then carried his brilliance onto international level.
At the 2018 Asian Para Games, he rose to the occasion and won a gold and a silver medal at the 10 m and 50 m pistol events respectively. He replicated his stellar form at the 2019 World Championships in Sydney. Narwal won 3 bronze medals at the events he participated in and announced himself on the global stage.
The COVID-19 induced lockdown didn't seem to affect Narwal's confidence. In the very first international competition after the lockdown, Narwal showed up looking brilliant. At the Para Shooting World Cup in 2021, the Indian broke the world record in the 10m air pistol SH1 event. He scored 229.1 points to break the previous world record set by Serbia's Rastko Jokic, to prove his case as a serious contender at the Paralympics.
Can Maish Narwal win a medal at the Paralympics 2021?
Manish Narwal oozes confidence every time he steps foot on the range. He will be up against some of the top shooters like Oleksii Denysiuk and Sergey Malyshev at the Games. However, the Indian has proven in the past that he is not afraid of the stature of his opponents. He won gold at the Al Ain Shooting World Cup amidst the presence of these world-class shooters. If he replicates the same brilliance at the Games, there is no stopping him from winning the gold medal at the Paralympics.