Gagan Narang returns home to a hero’s welcome

first_imgHundreds of fans, a bright red pheta (turban) and flower-bedecked chariot awaited India’s Olympic hero Gagan Narang when he returned to Pune, his training ground for the past four years, on Wednesday.The ace shooter bagged India’s first medal at the 2012 Games by winning a bronze in the 10m air rifle event on July 30.Upon his arrival, the Olympian went directly to the Balewadi Sports Complex, where he runs an academy called Gun for Glory that trains aspiring shooters.Maharashtra sports minister Padmakar Valvi was also present at the academy to felicitate Narang.”The Maharashtra government congratulates him and we will soon organise a public function for his felicitation,” he said.”The government will extend the lease of the academy for another five years in recognition of the good work that Narang has done,” he added.Valvi said the government will provide a financial grant for ammunition and rifles for aspiring shooters at Narang’s academy.”We are sure that at the 2016 Olympics, he (Narang) will continue to keep the Indian flag flying high,” he added.Narang’s parents were also felicitated at the event.”It is a matter of pride for the country that he won the medal,” his father B.S. Narang said.When Narang took to the podium, flashing his medal, the audience broke into a thunderous applause. “This medal belongs to all of you; it belongs to the country,” he said. Cradling it in his hand, he thanked his family, coach, students at the academy, fans on Facebook (who he “hadn’t been able to reply to”) and friends (who he “hadn’t been able to communicate with”) over the last few busy weeks.advertisement”Thank you for your appreciation of my efforts. It has not been easy; in fact, it’s been tough. Looking at your support, it’s now sinking in that I’ve won something big,” he said.Further in his speech, Narang appealed to parents to allow children to pursue their interest in sports and urged the state government to include sports in the school curriculum. “Sport teaches you a lot; I have learnt a lot from people who didn’t believe in me, that’s where the motivation came from,” he said.last_img

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