London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang on Tuesday in Mumbai said that he believed that the transition from a talented shooter to an international medallist at the senior level was not an easy process and India needed a system to facilitate that process rather than depend on outliers who succeed despite the system.
In order to address the problem, the Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation and Olympic Gold Quest has launched an ambitious program – Project Leap – to create a robust system that can help them monitor the training of selected shooters across the country and work on consistent improvement with an eye on winning a medal in 2024 Olympics.
To begin with, 23 shooters (12 rifle and 11 pistol) have been inducted in the program through a comprehensive and scientific selection process. They will now receive about 60 days of training a year with foreign coaches and the program designed by these experts would then be implemented through a dedicated support staff at their respective regional centres.
Slovakian Anton Belak has already started working with the rifle shooters in Pune while the pistol shooters will work with Korean coach Kim Seonil in a series of five camps aimed at providing basic understanding of their skills, analysing their physical and mental preparations and designing an year long program that they could work on.
Explaining the rationale behind the initiative, Narang said young Indian shooters were still struggling to make the transition once they make it to the national camp or the senior level and those who have succeeded were probably outliers.
“There are many shooters who have kind of just stayed at that particular score and not getting the right kind of support. So we wanted to create a kind of ecosystem…. Once they go up and then come down, you don’t see them coming back up that is where the eco system matters.
“You always have outliers in the system. But you cannot depend on outliers in the system all the time. So you have to create a system so strong that it produces champions. The bench strength of the system has to go up. We will just focus on putting up that eco system,” said the multiple-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Narang said the idea was provide the young shooters between the age group of 12 and20 the best support system. “We are probably looking to create a feeder system for the national camps. When the youngsters reach the national camp coaches at times have to spend time on rectifying their flaws rather than fine tuning the techniques. In the space we are, we can concentrate on providing that basic grooming.”
OGQ’s Chief Executive Officer Viren Rasquinha said the tie up was a natural progression for the organisation that is looking to create a sustainable eco-system for Indian athletes to succeed at the Olympics. “What attracted us to the project was the strong scientific processes and implementation plans put together by Gagan and his team and the long term vision of Project Leap which aligns with the OGQ Junior scholarship programme,” he added.