Promising Indian shooter Manish Narwal is on a mission.
The 17-year old, who created a flutter with his sharp shooting skills just months after stepping into the shooting range three years ago, wants to have the Senior and Junior world records in his name by 2020, a press release from Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) said.
“This is a challenge to myself to get all the World Records—Junior and Senior Qualification and Finals—by 2020. Winning the gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics is also a dream. And I will give my 100 per cent to achieve that,” Narwal told Asian Paralympic Committee.
The young shooter narrowly missed out on a medal at the Al Ain 2019 World Shooting Parasport World Cup, held in February, despite having pulled off a Junior Qualification World record when he shot 579 points in P1 Men’s 10 Air Pistol SH1 qualifying round. He eventually finished fourth in the finals. He was the silver medalist in the same event last year.
Narwal was obviously sad but he, sounding much mature than his age, said all these misses and mistakes were preparing him for glories in bigger competitions.
“I was disappointed, which is very normal. But I know I cannot sit with that, I have to correct my mistakes and keep going.
“Moreover, I am learning to cope with all these setbacks. It’s important to sometime forget the defeats and keep working towards bigger goals, like the World Championships and the Paralympics. I am trying to think more like a champion, not thinking too much about the narrow misses, trying to just learn from my mistakes, amending it and going out confidently,” said the shooter from Faridabad, a populous city in the north Indian state of Haryana.
“I believe I didn’t control my emotions well. Also, I was little nervous. I need to practice more. There are several World Cups in the coming months. I will try to be better,” he added.
Life is about Shooting
Having started playing the sport only in 2016, Narwal said he wasn’t a bright student in school so wanted to pursue a sport. “I tried several other sports like athletics, football, badminton but didn’t get any good results. In January 2016, I started shooting and it clicked straight away. I started winning medals quite quickly. I became confident that I can make a career in shooting,” said Narwal who admitted that his “life is all about shooting now starting at 5 in the morning”. His younger brother is also part of the Indian shooting squad.
In his first senior Nationals, Narwal finished with two gold medals, before he picked up another five golds and a record in the 2017 National Championships. He also had an individual silver each at the 2017 Bangkok and 2017 Dubai World Cups.
Last year, he was unstoppable, winning eight gold and one silver in the Senior Nationals. In 2018 at the World Cup in Châteauroux France, his impressive form helped him win not just three gold medals but also to secure a Tokyo 2020 quota place for India. At the Asian Para Games 2018, he brought home India’s only gold from the shooting range. He clinched the gold in the P1 men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 with a Games record, bagged a Junior World record en-route and took the silver in P4 50m Pistol Mixed SH1 finals. Narwal had finished ahead of China’s Huang Xing and Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Yang Chao.
“Last year was very good for me. There were some achievements. One of the reasons was I started training under our national coach Subhash Rana, which saw a lot of positive changes in my approach. And this has given me the confidence that I can win a Paralympic medal. There has been an improvement in my scores, technically I am sounder now. I have also been using a new pistol, made small changes in my technique. I am making the changes slowly, taking one step at a time to get the improvements.”
Improvements started to show up in Narwal’s game after the Cheongju 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships, where he didn’t even qualify for the finals.
“My scores are improving since then. In Cheongju, I got 564 in the qualification and couldn’t even make the finals. I practiced a lot, and my scores have improved to 577…578 and now I am getting 579,” said the shooter who loves to watch Football and inspirational movies in his free time. “Usain Bolt and Lionel Messi are my favourite. I try not to miss their competitions, even the highlights on TV.”
Coach Rana was also pleased to see his ward’s progress and emphasised that Narwal has “enough potential to win a medal in Paralympics”.
“And we are working towards that.”
“Last year he earned Tokyo 2020 quota in France. And this year it’s about the preparations, competing in as many events to gain experience how to perform in the finals, compete against the top shooters,” Rana said of his favourite trainee.
“We are looking for some nice places somewhere in Europe for his Tokyo 2020 preparation. He is now funded by the Government of India being the TOPS Scheme. The GoSports Foundation are also supporting him and there are some others in the pipeline. We are working for a medal in Tokyo.”
He also added that Indian shooting future looks bright with a bunch of Pistol shooters–Rubina, Pooja, Sonia, Avani Lekhara and Narwal.
“We are looking for Rubina to participate in World Championship in Australia and aiming to earn some quota places. We already have four quota places now with junior Avani securing one here, and expecting three more. In Paris 2024, we are targeting a full team.”