India cricketer Rohit Sharma has sent his best wishes to the Indian sports contingent, which will take part in the upcoming Rio Olympic Games from August 5-21, by presenting an autographed bat to ace marksman Gagan Narang.
Rohit, who is leading defending champions Mumbai Indians in the ongoing Indian Premier League, on Thursday, presented Narang with a signed bat with the words ‘Go for Gold’ written on it.
The bat was presented to Narang, a bronze medalist in the men's 10m air rifle event at the 2012 London Olympics, after the duo had inaugurated the Pune International Sports Expo (PISE) at the College of Agriculture Grounds in Pune.
Narang spoke about the challenges the Olympic athletes face to achieve their goals.
"Winning medals for India is my job, but while I pursue my dream of yet another Olympic medal, this time in Rio, I want to reflect on the challenges that we face," said the 32-year-old Hyderabad-based Narang, winner of eight gold medals in the Commonwealth Games of 2006 and 2010.
"We often talk about level-playing field. While in corporate boardrooms this still is an Utopia, but in sports this is what we strive for. However, in a country like ours democracy or level can only come once we think of opportunity or playing fields," said the ace rifle shooter.
Recently, the Parliament was told by the Sports Ministry that the Government expects 10 medals from Rio, while the target is 25 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking about the figure that has been projected by the sports ministry, Narang said whether or not that figure was achievable, it was more important to view the efforts that go behind the final results.
"Surely that is a number that Government wants to achieve given the grants they give. But is it practical? It can become practical if there is democratisation of sports and if Indian sports had many more stake holders," felt Narang.
"In that backdrop, I see there is a great initiative here to give a shot in the arm to Indian sports at this sports exhibition as we need people like these to partner sporting needs of people who are not only at the top, the elite athletes... but the ones starting out as well," he said.