GAGAN NARANG, 28, Shooter
Currently ranked World Number 3 in the 10m Air Rifle category, Gagan Narang is no stranger to records. “Last year was a bumper year for me,” he says as he was conferred the country's highest sporting honour — rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Narang whose mother comes from a village in Phagwara came into his own in 2010, with his six-medal haul at the Commonwealth Games followed by a double silver at the Asian Games in Guangzhou. Last year, he shot into the limelight by becoming the first Indian to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, with a bronze in the World Championships.
SMALL START For Narang, shooting started as a recreational sport and as a child, he enjoyed shooting balloons at fairs. It was only when he was 14 and his parents introduced him to a pistol encouraging him to take it up as a sport, that Narang took it seriously.
DIFFERENT DIRECTION He launched his shooting academy Gun for Glory in January 2011, at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune. “The idea germinated when a fellow passenger at Delhi airport asked me for a good training centre for shooters.” Aiming to bring home the gold from the Olympics, Narang is currently busy practicing for 2012, “It isn’t easy because there is no template,” he says. “My focus comes from the drive to win. It comes from the high of seeing the tricolour go up.”