Khel Ratna has brought added pressure: Narang

July 26th, 2011 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Abhinav Bindra New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) India’s ace shooter Gagan Narang Tuesday said that the pressure of performing at the 2012 London Olympics will be greater after being recommended for this year’s Rajiv Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour.

Narang, who was the first Indian shooter to book a London berth, said the state of the sport has improved in the country with eight shooters having already made the cut for the mega-event

“Earlier, we used to depend on the last Olympics qualifying tournament and now eight of us have already crossed that barrier,” said Narang. Beijing Olympics champion Abhinav Bindra (rifle) was the latest to have qualified with the others being Narang (rifle), Hari Om Singh (prone) Ronjan Sodhi (double trap), Sanjeev Rajput (three position) and Vijay Kumar, Annu Raj Singh and Rahi Sarnobat (pistol).

On the added pressure of winning a medal, Narang said: “It does bother me a bit but the pressure is always there. It is satisfying to be recommended finally.”

Narang, however, maintained that he was disappointed to miss out on the honour the last time around. The Hyderabad-based shooter had expressed lack of motivation to compete in the 2010 Commonwealth Games at home after being ignored for the award. Narang eventually bagged four gold medals in the New Delhi event.

“It was disappointing not to get it last time and I have no regrets about what I said at that time. But it never got so bad that I would have missed the Games in my own country.”

Narang, gearing for his third straight Olympics appearance, is confident of the shooters rising to the occasion in London.

“It is not only me, the medal can come from anyone. We are all training hard. Rahi (Sarnobat)’s bronze in the World Cup in May was a great performance. She should do well in the Olympics too. If you want to see what pressure we feel, you should come to my academy in Pune,” he said.

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