Dhanush is an exception talent: Gagan Narang

Says the younsgter has made his hearing impairment as his greatest strength

Brushing aside his hearing impairment, 16-year-old Dhanush Srikanth made a truly memorable debut in the Asian shooting championship with a stunning haul of three gold medals in Doha on Wednesday night.

Dhanush, a product of Gun for Glory Academy run by London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang, in his maiden international event won the 10m air rifle mixed team event partnering Shreya Agarwal, then the team gold with Shahu Mane and Hriday Hazarika before finishing off the Asian meet in style with the individual gold on Tuesday night.

Dhanush’s performance, though, was not really a surprise for his mentor Gagan Narang, who always had immense faith in the young talent.

Good start

“Dhanush is an exceptional talent. I am really glad with the way he has been progressing. He has just begun his international career and could not have expected a better start,” said Gagan in a chat with The Hindu.

“Yes, there were moments of hesitation when we first saw him last year but what struck me was his amazing spirit. He never gave the impression that being hearing-impaired was a handicap. In fact, he made it as his biggest strength and stays focussed in the ranges,” said Gagan.

“Just remember his level of maturity and concentration in the individual final when before the final shot, he was issued an yellow card for loading his pellets before the range official’s command. It is never easy, for you need the highest level of focus and intensity and even a split-second distraction can bring all the efforts to zero,” said Gagan, who started his Gun For Glory Academy first in Pune in 2011 and now has 15 centres across India.

Supports system

Significantly, Dhanush could not have expected a better support system that what is in place at Gagan’s academy.

“The entire equipment is taken care off. He is part of Project Leap and is training under both Indian and foreign coaches with Olympic Gold Quest also supporting his cause,” added Gagan.

Asha, Dhanush’s mother, revealed that he had called before the final and was pretty confident of winning the gold. “We owe a lot to Gagan Narang and the coaches including Neha Chavan who are mentoring him so well and hope Dhanush will continue to produce wonderful results,” she said.

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