The potential go-getters

The potential go-getters
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First Published: Sat, Jul 26 2008. 12 08 AM IST

Updated: Sat, Jul 26 2008. 12 08 AM IST
THE BEST SHOT
Gagan Narang, 26
Shooting
The only Indian to shoot a perfect 600/600, Gagan Narang was the first to be
selected for the Indian shooting squad for the Beijing Olympics in 2006. He is also the only Indian who will be shooting in three events—10m rifle, 50m prone and 50m three-position.
The Melbourne Commonwealth Games quadruple gold medallist from Hyderabad believes that in shooting “one competes against oneself”. He is known for his speed, but it’s his even temper that is likely to help him clinch a medal. For the Olympics, Narang isn’t experimenting with strategy or training. “The Olympics is the ultimate sports event, but for shooters, the world championships are equally big. I am preparing the way I would for any tournament,” he says.
- Shruti Chakraborty
SHUTTLING TO FAME
Anup Sridhar, 25
Badminton
He hit the world’s hardest recorded smash at the 2007 World Badminton
Championships in Kuala Lumpur; beat former World No. 1 Taufiq Hidayat of Indonesia the same year; and had a world ranking of 24 in March. Anup Sridhar from Bangalore has given India reason to cheer, and is one of our best hopes in Beijing. “I have never been fitter,” says Sridhar, who has been training under coaches Prakash Padukone, Tom John and Vimal Kumar.
Sridhar believes his toughest competitor is going to be Lin Dan from China. “He is a fantastic all-round player, but we had a very close match the last couple of times we met (at the World Championships in 2007 and the All England Championships earlier this year).”
- Pavitra Jayaraman
SPEED STROKES
Virdhawal Khade, 16
Swimming
Earlier in July, Virdhawal Khade returned to Bangalore after breaking Sebastian
Xavier’s national record in 50m freestyle at the World Youth Swimming Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. This, he says, has been his most memorable moment so far.
Khade has been training rigorously under coach Nihar Ameen for the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events in Beijing. “Veer”, as his friends call him, grew up in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, but shifted to Bangalore two years ago to focus on his swimming.
The journey from Kolhapur to Beijing, the teenager says, has been anything but overwhelming: “It has felt quite natural so far. Swimming has taught me how to be adaptable, to be in touch with my body and mind, and not to be concerned with what others are doing.”
- Pavitra Jayaraman
FAST GEAR
Sandeep Sejwal, 18
Swimming
Cricket is one of his favourite sports, and his favourite sporting moment was when
India won the Twenty20 World Cup. But when it came to him, Sandeep Sejwal chose to dive into the pool. The Delhi boy has justified his real passion by qualifying for the 100m and 200m breaststroke events in Beijing.
As he trains in Florida, Sejwal says that although the training drill is the same for all events, the stakes are much higher when it’s the Olympics. “I am more focused and ready to give my best, and I look forward to swimming in the biggest pool in the world,” says Sejwal. The fact that the St Stephen’s student is the first Indian breaststroke swimmer to qualify for the Olympic Games also underscores that India still has a long way to go.
- Pavitra Jayaraman
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First Published: Sat, Jul 26 2008. 12 08 AM IST