The 2012 London Olympics 10m Air Rifle bronze medallist Gagan Narang of India is training Kenya's shooting team for the African qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics set from November 17-24 in Tipasa, Algeria.
The 36-year-old Narang, who also claimed bronze at the 2010 World Shooting Championships, will also help Kenya Shooting Sports Federation (KSSF) set up development structures and an academy at the Sailing Club, Nairobi.
KSSF chairman Shoaib Vayani said Narang, who has won a total of eight gold medals from the 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, will be key in their plan to roll out youth development program countrywide.
Vayani said they intend to target youth for the newly introduced Target Sprint that is becoming popular and easy to set up.
Vayani said that Narang’s short term plan is to refine the national team so as to have more qualifiers for the Tokyo Summers Games. “Our plan is to have many firers qualifying in more events at the 2024 Olympics,” said Vayani.
Narang, who has had a week of training with the national team shooters, said Kenya has the potential to have more firers qualifying for majors events like the Olympics.
“I am not really changing many things here but fine-tuning them with under pressure training,” said Narang. “We are also making some technical advancements which are crucial to winning tight games.”
Kenya will be represented by 14 firers; eight men and six women at the qualifiers that will double up as the Africa Championships in the Algerian town.
The 2015 Africa champion Gulraaj Sehmi, Idris Kasmani, David Kirui, Christopher Saina, Maurice Morara and Francis Kinyua will battle in men’s 10m Air Pistol while Linet Owiti, Maryanne Cheruiyot, Dorin Okiri and Jane Wanjiru will compete in women’s event.
Sehmi will double up in men’s 10m Air Rifle team that has Gurupreet Dhanjal and Sanford Otundo while the women’s team has Pricilla Mburu.
“I am working on my stability and techniques especially in short sequence," said Sehmi, who missed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics by one point.
“Narang has been resourceful in these areas and how to perform under pressure.”
“I have given myself the target of qualifying and I am working hard towards that,” said Mburu. “Training has improved under Narang and we should qualify half of the team God willing.”
Otundo also exuded confidence as the team prepares to leave the country on Friday next week for the qualifiers. “We have been training for almost one month now and all is well,” said Otundo, who is taking part in an Olympic qualifier for the first time.