Dronacharya Awardee Jaspal Rana is hoping that the 36th National Games to be held in Gujarat from September 29 to October 12 will unearth fresh shooting talent, with several youngsters getting the opportunity to take on the more established stars.
“Not everyone gets to compete in national events and eventually for the country. But this is where you spot talent. Even state meets can throw up fresh talent. I am sure by the end of the National Games, we will see a few new faces who might shine for India in the future,” the multiple-time Asian Games gold medallist said.
Jaspal has been instrumental in shaping the careers of several youngsters, including Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Choudhary and Anish Bhanwala while working with the junior national squad.
As someone who first won laurels for India at the 1994 Junior World Championship in Milan and went on to excel in the Hiroshima Asian Games later the same year, the now 46-year-old feels that the National Games will offer the right exposure to all participants.
“We do not have the Asian Games this time in Hangzhou, so it is a great opportunity for all our athletes to come together and showcase their skills in Gujarat.
“It is not about just shooting. There are so many different disciplines at the National Games and if the cream of talent can compete with the lesser experienced players, it will be very good,” he said.
Rana himself is keen to watch all the shooting action during the National Games as he firmly believes that watching any competition is a learning experience even for coaches.
“The talent base (in shooting) is very strong and we have seen how youngsters grab the chance which comes their way. I would like to see India’s best shooters come to Gujarat and entertain the spectators. There is also an opportunity for younger marksmen to learn from the seniors,” he said.
Rana also pointed out that the atmosphere in multi-discipline games makes it an experience worth cherishing. “I used to enjoy representing the country during my days. It is this passion and brotherhood which will be seen in play at the National Games as well. I am very confident that the Gujarat government will do a great job in hosting the Games,” he added.