Gritty Prakash triumphs

Gritty Prakash triumphs

Breaking barriers is not new for Prakash Nanjappa. The Bengaluru shooter, who made an inspiring recovery from a paralytic attack to win silver at the Commonwealth Games three years ago in Glasgow, has added another feather in his cap.

The 41-year-old didn't enjoy a great Olympics debut as he returned empty handed from Rio last year. This year, however, has been a memorable one for Prakash. On a high after receiving the Arjuna Award in August, he extended India's superb run at the ongoing Commonwealth Shooting Championships by nailing gold in the 50M pistol in Gold Coast, Australia.

Prakash rated the performance as special. "It is my first international gold. In the past, I have won silver and bronze at the international level but this is the first time I am on top of the podium. So it's a special feeling," Prakash told DH after the victory. A gutsy customer, Prakash's progress to the final wasn't easy. "I experienced a trigger failure in the qualification round. I spent time discussing with coach to fix the problem. It was a challenging event because after I reset the trigger, every attempt was tough. But I am glad I pulled it off," he said on Friday.

It was a clean sweep by India at the event, with Amanpreet Singh and Jitu Rai completing the podium with Prakash, who scored 222.4 points. "Aman has been in good form while Jitu is always a master at this level. I had a good day too. I was the only one who scored a 10.9 in the final," he pointed out.

Prakash underlined the role played by compatriot Gagan Narang in his success. "Gagan has always been a great motivator. I shared the room with Gagan when I won the silver in Glasgow and even at this event, I was sharing room with him. Yesterday, we had an interesting discussion. He told me that this was my time to shine. He has been telling me to grab as many medals as possible and I am happy I that I was able to do it," he said.

Up next is the national trials in Delhi on November 15 and Prakash believes in being a student of the sport. "The journey is a learning process. Yes, a couple of times things haven't gone my way but I try to fix my shortcomings and learn from the phase and move on," he concluded.

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