Gagan Narang's medal will motivate Indian athletes: Maken

London: Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken congratulated shooter Gagan Narang for winning India's first medal at the London Olympics 2012 and said his bronze will inspire other Indian athletes to do well in the sporting extravaganza.

"I am sure this medal will boost the morale of others in the competition. His medal has set the ball rolling and it will inspire other athletes to win medals. The medal came a bit late in the Games but it was surely worth the wait," Maken told reporters outside the Royal Artillery Barracks Monday when Narang shot an overall score of 701.1 in the men's 10m air rifle to finish third.

Ajay Maken. Reuters

"He could have won the gold had it not been for a couple of bad shots. It would have been even better if Abhinav Bindra stood on the podium as well," added the minister referring to Beijing gold medallist Bindra, who failed to qualify for the final.

Vijay Malhotra, acting president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), too praised the shooter.

"I am sure the whole of India is rejoicing right now. Narang's feat will motivate our other medal prospects. So far all the expected athletes are in the medal hunt," said Malhotra.

Narang is also slated to take part in the 50m rifle 3-position and 50m rifle prone later in the July 27-Aug 12 Games.

IANS