One mediocre performance after another from a world-beater is something hard to digest. More so from rifle shooter Gagan Narang, who has been at the forefront of Indian shooting for the last two years, even overshadowing Beijing Olympic Games gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra.
A silver medal each in the 10m air rifle individual and team categories doesn't do justice to this Hyderabad-based world record holder, who clinched four gold at the CWG and came to Guangzhou with a huge responsibility on his shoulders.
Though the pistol and rifle contingent fared way below expectation, Narang's performance was galling, given his stature. HT caught up with him for his take on the disappointing performance. Excerpts:
Don't you think the Games have been a disappointment?
At the Doha Asian Games, I had just one bronze to show. This time, I have two silver in 10m air rifle. This is progress. I am glad I could peak more than twice this year. I am also happy that I finished the year with eight gold, a silver and a bronze at the World Championships. We wanted to take the Commonwealth Games momentum ahead. Some could, some couldn't.
What is it that came in the way of your performance in the 50m rifle events here?
In 10m air rifle, I have the experience and expertise to shoot above 595/600. In the 50m events, Sanjeev Rajput is still the senior-most shooter. I am still learning the techniques and trying to improve. I came to Guangzhou with a new barrel and am still trying to adjust to it. Besides, in India we don't have a regular supply of quality ammunition for 50m.
Don't you think after the high at the CWG, this performance has been a dampener?
I think we have done well. What the Commonwealth Games were to us, the Asian Games are to the Chinese. They have to perform.