What's in a jacket? A lot, if you ask Gagan Narang, who spent anxious hours trying to get his shooting jacket cleared at the equipment control centre.
Two days before the big day, Narang's jacket couldn't meet the stringent specifications and he was forced to make some adjustments. He faced an even bigger hurdle the next day. Despite making another round of adjustments, his jacket didn't pass the equipment control, and finally, the Indian requested the technical officials to check the jacket on another machine. This time around, Narang was lucky.
"Before every competition, shooters have to get their equipment cleared. When we went for equipment control, they didn't pass the jacket. The subsequent day (July 29) we faced the same problem despite making the necessary adjustments. The machine didn't pass the jacket because of which half our official training time got wasted," said Narang' mental trainer Vaibhav Agashe.
"Finally, we asked the equipment control to check the stiffness of the jacket on another machine. Gagan has been using this jacket in all major tournaments and he has never encountered such a problem, so he was sure there was something wrong with the machine. Eventually, the next machine cleared the jacket," he added.
So, did the episode disturb Narang? "When we prepare for big events, we have to keep budget for such hurdles. So, it didn't disturb us. The only thing was it wasted some of our precious training time," said Agashe.
The jacket that Narang wore on Monday is the one which has been with him for nine years now. He has tested a dozen odd jackets in the last one year but none seems to fit him like the old one.
"Last year he went for a new rifle and a new jacket. He got comfortable with the rifle, but his body didn't adjust to the jacket. So, he kept trying out new jackets all year long. He shot the first two World Cups this year with new jackets but switched to the old one for the Munich World Cup. It worked," said Narang's close friend, Pawan Singh, who is also the director at the ace shooter's academy, Gun for Glory.
"You can see a number of patches and stitches on his jacket as a lot of adjustments have to made because his body has changed in the last 8-10 years," he added.