Hyderabad: The bronze medal at the London Games has taken off a big stone on his chest and now shooter Gagan Narang wants to focus on reviving 'dying sports' in his home city of Hyderabad.
Narang said he would like to nurture young talent by starting sports academy in the state with the support of the government.
"I would like to nurture talent in the state by opening sports academies and centres of excellence with the help of government, with the support of rifle association of AP. The media support is important.
"Secondly, the right kind of support from government is necessary at the right point of time. Sports in Hyderabad is dying. I don't see many youngsters taking interest in sport," Narang said while interacting with reporters here.
"There was no maintenance, no upgradation of shooting facilities at the shooting ranges (in Hyderabad) since 2002 when the range was constructed until now. I hope I will be able to give a shot in the arm especially to shooting sport facilities in AP and produce champions for the country.
Government, corporate and media needs to be a part of this endeavour," he said.
Responding to Narang's proposal to nurture young talent, top state government officials said his plans will be processed with due seriousness and positive consideration after they are received formally.
Gagan, who won bronze medal in 10m air rifle event, also met Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Sports Minister V Vasant Kumar on Tuesday. Narang said he was relieved after winning the honours in London, though he would like to improve further in the next Olympics.
"The pressure in Beijing was immense and I broke under pressure. I missed my final point. Every day of my life I would carry that hurt and pinch inside until I shot that last shot in London and I could win the medal. It was a huge relief.
"I had lot of pressure (in London) and I am glad I could handle that. I missed the gold medal and I will be looking forward to changing the colour next time," Narang said.
"I believe in turning destination into starting point. I think once you push your limits and you are able to achieve what you are set out for, then Olympics medal was one medal which I did not have in my medal cabinet. I feel quite happy about completing that 15-year-old journey into a medal. I feel the journey is also very important because that enriches you with experience," he added.
Recalling his growing up years in Hyderabad, he disclosed that he actually started with cricket as a child but moved on to shooting gradually.
"How I got into shooting was also very interesting.
Everyone who starts shooting, starts with bursting balloons on the beach. For me it was little different. I was riding a cycle in my apartment. By mistake, the cycle went off the stair and I fractured my right hand. A day before that, I went to the club where there was a shooting range for enrolment. I was disappointed when I suffered the fracture. But, I had gone there with the fracture and they were surprised. I managed to shoot somehow," he said.
He also recalled that his father had to sell of a plot of land in Hyderabad to purchase a rifle for him as his mentors those days suggested that he should own a rifle to pursue the sport seriously.