London: Gagan Narang has unfinished business. Wondering how?
Well, for many, if not all Indian competitors, an Olympic medal — of any colour — would be a dream-come-true, or rather a culmination of a four-year long journey that is often tedious. For Narang, however, the bronze medal that he won on Monday is only the beginning.
“This is not the time for celebrations… I have two more events in the next few days,” Narang told The Telegraph standing at the Royal Artillery Barracks, where he created history only the previous day.
Tuesday was no different to Monday for the Hyderabad shooter, who won a historic Olympic medal, the first for India at the London Olympics. While back home, and even in London, proud Indians celebrated till midnight and beyond, Narang was lost in his sleep. He spent Monday evening in a quiet manner and went to sleep comparatively early.
“It’s true that I won the 10m Air Rifle medal, but I am also supposed to give my best in the other two events. I will think about celebrations only after I complete my assignment,” said the Olympic medallist.
The remaining assignments for Narang — who won four gold medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi — would be the 50m Prone and 50m 3 Positions. Unlike the 10m Air Rifle, Narang is not the favourite in these events, but chief coach Sunny Thomas feels a surprise could be in store.
“Gagan is the man for big tournaments... His ability to hold his nerves under pressure is simply amazing,” said Thomas.
Thomas has a point. The manner in which Narang kept his cool to steal the thunder in a nerve-wracking finish on Monday was commendable. It also brought to the fore his insatiable desire for success.
That Narang continues to focus on his goal is never in doubt. More proof was provided in the final: When his name was announced as a participant for the benefit of the capacity crowd, he did not even raise his hand to acknowledge the cheers. He simply kept his gaze on the floor and waited for the shooting to start.
“I was concentrating, so I kept quiet. Did you notice how (Alin George) Moldoveanu (of Romania) reacted when his name was called? He also kept mum and did not look up,” said Narang. Moldoveanu went on to win the gold.
Narang, in fact, is now India’s face at the Olympics. Everyone wants a piece of him. So when he arrived at the Barracks, on Tuesday morning, with his coach Stanislav Lapidus for training, curious fans followed him. Right from the moment he came down from the team bus to the time he started preparing, all eyes were pinned on the new poster boy in Indian shooting.
It took some time, though, for Narang to start firing again. Amidst the ruckus that followed his bronze medal winning effort, his tool box was left behind at the final hall range. Later coach Thomas fetched it from the lost and found section.
“I spoke to my father after winning the medal… He was very happy for me, but said I should have won the gold. Well, to be fair, he is right in a way, but nothing can be done (about it) now,” he said.
With two events still in hand, Narang can still make amends. It’s a tall order for sure, but for someone who is high on confidence, the proverbial sky is the limit. He may or may not emerge successful but the shooter could never be blamed for lack of focus.
Narang is clearly hungry for more… His unfinished business.