India's Gagan Narang won the bronze medal in the 50m Rifle Prone Event of the ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning in USA, earning himself a quota place for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Narang, who won the bronze in 10m Rifle at the London Olympics, shot 185.8 overall to secure third place behind gold medallist Michael McPhail (208.8 points) of USA and Ole Kristian Bryhn (206.3) of Norway.
Earlier in the competition, Narang and India's only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, had failed to qualify for the 10m Rifle final. Narang is the third Indian shooter to make the Rio cut after Jitu Rai and Apurvi Chandela.
Chandela had secured the quota place by winning bronze in the 10m Rifle at the World Cup in Korea last month. Pistol ace Jitu Rai had won India's first Olympic quota place at the World Championships in Granada, Spain last year, when he won silver in the 50m Free Pistol event.
Each country can win a maximum of 30 quota places from a total of 15 shooting disciplines (including shotgun events), two each from each discipline. When asked what was the first thought predominant in his mind when he qualified for the Rio Olympics?
“The first thought was of 'relief'. The later one leaves it for, the more one falls back on the 'Theory of Probability' and risk Murphy's Law. I was keen to complete one part of the process, i.e securing the quota, this year. I was working towards that. Very glad that it happened in the US.”
On the training for the Olympics, he said, “it is good that I have been able to qualify a year in advance. It would give me the time to iron out chinks in my armour. At the same time I need to work on my fitness. I would like to shoot more consistent scores. Most importantly, have to plan well to manage my peaks during the course of next one year.”