New Delhi: It is called 'Gun for Glory', but London Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang insists his initiative is more of a "shooting festival" than a tournament as it welcomes not just professionals but also amateurs who have "never held guns" in their lives.
"It is a shooting festival in which even those who have not held a gun in their lives can participate," Narang told PTI about the event that is likely to be graced by another London Olympics bronze winner, boxer M C Mary Kom, on the concluding day.
This year's tournament - the second after a successful opening last year - will see participation from London Olympics silver medallist Vijay Kumar, Rahi Sarnobat and Annu Raj Singh among others. The tournament will run from September 12 to 18 in Pune.
Double trap champion Ronjan Sodhi is also expected to be present and so are Heena Sidhu and Shagun Chowdhury. "Mary Kom is also likely to be present on the concluding day of the event," the rifle ace said.
One of the primary objectives of the tournament is to clear the misconception that the sport cannot be made accessible. "Sessions will be held on mental training, fitness and how to exercise and all. There will be a sports psychologist, mental trainer, dietician, physiotherapist.
"The idea is clear the doubts of the people, make it accessible and promote the sport," said the 29-year-old shooter, the man behind the academy situated at the Shiv Chatrapati Sports Complex shooting range in Balewadi, Pune. Narang reiterated that the tournament is not just for the established ones but also for the fans of shooting.
"We had to find our own path. Now we are trying to help them make their own path," he said. Narang informed that there is no dearth of sponsors for the event whose prize money will be Rs 40 lakh.
"Chevrolet is one of the main sponsors. We have good amount of sponsorships." The shooter said they are trying to match the standards set in the first edition. Tournament director Pawan Singh said entries are still pouring in, but registration through the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for professionals is closed.
Singh lamented that quite a few corporates come on board with their own vested interests rather than with the motive of helping the sport grow. "They are like how much time will Gagan Narang spend in our school, how much will he give us, and less into the sport. We need to change that," Singh said.
Narang has already donated Rs 16 lakh - 10 for the upcoming talent and another six for the support staffs of Indian shooters.