Guangzhou, Nov 12 (IANS) India’s ace rifle shooter Gagan Narang Friday battled fatigue to accpet the honour of carrying the national flag and became the fifth marksman to do so at the opening ceremony of a mega event like the Asian Games.
Narang took the risk of hampering the prospects of featuring on the podium twice Saturday in the 10-metre air rifle event. Both the men’s individual and team events are scheduled on the first day of the Asian Games competition.
Narang, winner of four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, and Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra will be competing in the event, where the Chinese challengers seek to make amends for the Beijing Games, where Bindra won the individual event to become India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist.
Narang, the world No.4, was elated with the honour. Narang won four gold medals during last month’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
‘It is a great honour to carry the national flag. It is a great feeling and I hope to live up to the expectations in the Asian Games,’ he said.
India’s only individual Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra had carried the national flag at the opening ceremony of the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.
Since the 1982 Asian Games, Indian shooters have been flag-bearers in different multi-event extravaganzas.
The late Karni Singh, a silver medallist in skeet in the World Championships, was the flag-bearer at the 1982 Asian Games. World champion pistol shooter Jaspal Rana carried the Indian flag at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore carried the Indian flag at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.