All that glitters is gold, at least for Gagan Narang. The genial Hyderabadi has never been media-shy, sharing his experiences with one and all. But for now, he is just concentrating on the job at hand — six gold medals at the Commonwealth Games here — and his friends say, he will 'break his silence' once the job is accomplished.
On Friday, he took another giant leap towards that goal, clinching the 50m rifle 3-position gold at the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges to take his tally to four gold — one shy of pistol marksman Samresh Jung's record of five gold at the 2006 Games in Melbourne.
With two more events to go for Narang — 50m rifle prone pairs and individual — Gagan is very close to be crowned the biggest medal-grosser for the country.
On a day when India won two gold and a bronze in the shooting arena to take their gold medal haul to 12, all eyes trailed Gagan. But he preferred to revel in silence, only shaking hands with well-wishers and indulging in his other passion - photography - which is his way of concentrating on future events. A close friend said he was planning a media interaction after his sixth gold, and it would be a 'no-holds-barred' session.
On Saturday though, it was a 'no-holds-barred' performance from the world record holder in 10m air rifle, as he rewrote the Games record (GR) and the Final Games Record (FGR) with scores of 1166 and 1262.2 respectively. For long, the champion has been concentrating on 'kneeling' aspect of the event, which is divided into three categories - prone, standing and kneeling. And on Saturday, barring a last series of 92, he had amazing scores of 97, 97 and 96 in kneeling.
The previous GR of 1163 and FGR 1261.4 too stood in his name, achieved four years back in Melbourne. Appreciation for Gagan came from his rival, the young James Huckle from England. “This man is in amazing form,” said Huckle. Four times in the last four days, Huckle has tried to crack the Gagan riddle without success.
Scotland's Jonathan Hammond clinched silver with a score of 1255.3 (1164 + 91.3), while Huckle was third with 1254.9 (1157 +97.9).
Another unassuming shooter from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, Vijay Kumar (586), added one more gold to his tally with Harpreet Singh (573) in the 25m centrefire pistol (pairs) with an aggregate score of 1159.
Veteran rifle shooter and world record holder Suma Shirur (397/400), pairing with Kavita Yadav (388), shot down the bronze in women's 10m air rifle (pairs) bronze with a combined score of 785.