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All eyes on Gagan Narang in 50-metre rifle prone

india Updated: Aug 03, 2012 13:18 IST
10m air rifle

After winning Bronze for India in 10m air rifle, all eyes are on Gagan Narang on Friday as he will be back in action in the 50-metre rifle prone event at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London.

Though the 50-metre rifle prone is not his pet event, but if he wins he will become the first Indian to win two individual medals at the Games.

The field will be lined by veteran marksmen like Ukrainian Artur Ayvazyan, Australian Warren Potent and American Matthew Emmons, each of whom have managed to take aim and shoot down records in the past.

In 10m air rifle, Narang shot a 10.7 to seal his medal and forever demolish the demons, which had seen him for far too long being the man on the verge in Indian shooting. The Chinese, Wang Tao, who had dogged him from the beginning, managed a 10.4.

Shooter Gagan Narang poses for photographs after winning bronze in 10m air rifle event at the Olympic Games 2012 in London. PTI/Manvender Vashist

This time around, Narang had gone about his preparation with the kind of tunnel vision he did not have before Beijing. Then, he was all over the papers and one of the most accessible athletes around. Narang seemed to enjoy the attention, his shooting, however, did not seem to care too much for it. Or so he felt.

This time around, he wasn't leaving even a shred of doubt for his mind to trip over in the 70 shots that matter - 60 for qualifying and 10 in the final.

Gagan Narang competes in the 10m air rifle men qualifying round at the Royal Artillery Barracks in London during the London 2012 Olympic Games. AFP Photo/Marwan Naamani

He just disappeared off the public radar. He ignored Facebook, wouldn't respond to pings on gmail chat, avoided newspapers and chose to flip channels far away from news feeds.

He also pared down eight kgs from his comfortable 113. By January this year, Narang had gone into his own zone - a place that resounded to the thwack of pellet on target but had no room for the noises of expectation. It worked.