Pune: London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang today said that sports should be made a part of school curriculum and asked others states to take a leaf out of Maharashtra and Haryana's books as far as promoting sport was concerned.
"Sport is an important part of the development of kids and hence, it should be made a part of their curriculum," Narang said at a felicitation ceremony here after arriving from London.
Narang was felicitated at the 'Gun for Glory' academy by Maharashtra Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Padmakar Valvi.
Olympian Rahi Sarnobat and her parents were also felicitated on the occasion.
Praising the two governments for promoting sports, Narang said that Haryana and Maharashtra were an example to the other states and they should also imitate their efforts and develop infrastructure.
Heaping praise on the national coaches and rifle coach Stanislas Lapidus, he said that it would not have been possible for him to win the medal without their support.
The former world champion said that it was possible for India to take long strides in shooting provided the youngsters are given proper guidance and get continuous support from the government.
Narang's parents were also felicitated on the occasion.
Narang said that his mother was not happy with his bronze medal. "She wanted me to win the gold medal. I hope to fulfill her wish in the future."
Narang wants Mary Kom to add to India's haul with the gold medal now. "I met her in London and she sounded very confident. I hope that she brings the yellow medal for all of us."
Reliving his experience during his medal-winning endeavour, he said, "I felt a tad bit nervous. Hence, I started half an hour late. My coach made me play a 'secret' game on his iPad. I stepped back from my mark, relaxed, and checked everything before shooting again.
"I was really pleased at having qualified for the finals. A huge weight off my shoulders. In the finals, I was lucky enough to hold my nerves and shoot 10.7 in the last shot when I needed 10.2 to win the bronze medal.
Thanking the government of India for having spent considerably on the shooters, the champion said, "Shooting is an expensive game. Not everyone can afford it. With the active involvement of the government we can produce more medal winners.
Praising India's performance in the ongoing Olympics, he said that there is no reason why the country can't become a sporting powerhouse.
"It is a gradual process. Sporting culture is needed where marks are given to students for sports in schools, jobs are assured for sportsperson and sponsors are willing to support them through rough times.
"We have picked momentum and are moving in the right direction. It began with RVS Rathore's silver in Athens, Bindra's gold and two bronze in Beijing and four medals here. It is an encouraging sign."
He felt that the medals should inspire the athletes and they should strive to achieve better results in the future.
Commenting on the impact of sports, he said: "One thing that takes the country forward without war is sports."
Narang was given a rousing welcome on arrival here.
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