The white metal in men’s free 50-metre pistol event at the Barry Buddon Shooting Range near Glasgow last month was Gurpal’s one of best achievements in his career.
“I am happy with my performance at the Commonwealth Games and I am confident of doing well in the World Championships and earn a quota for Olympics. I am shooting well, I shot 565 in the CWG and if I can shoot in the region of 559-560, I will stand a chance,” Gurpal told PTI.
The soft-spoken 34-year-old from Bathinda says India can win at least five-six quota places in Spain, for the Rio Olympics.
“All our shooters are doing very well globally and I am very sure India would be able to win not less than 5-6 quota places,” he said.
“People like Gagan (Narang) bhai, Abhinav Bindra, Vijay Kumar, Rahi Sarnobat, Anisa Sayyed have bright chances. I also include myself in free pistol as I am also shooting well and there are other contenders as well.”
Gurpal clawed his way up from sixth in preliminaries to bag silver in the medal round, with his good friend Jitu Rai winning the top prize.
Gurpal, who has come a long way from his humble background, is more than satisfied with the results in his event at Glasgow.
“I am very happy that Jitu has won the gold. At the end of the day it was 1-2 for India and that’s what matters. Whether he wins gold or I win it, important thing is that the country has to gain,” he said.
Gurpal was spotted by the Army during a routine shooting trials and he is all praise for his employers. Gurpal joined the Army as a 20-year-old and has been supporting his family since then.
Gurpal, a junior commissioned officer with the Indian Army, said that he owed his achievements in shooting to the Army. He did not try his hands at the sport before joining the Indian Army.
The silver in Commonwealth Games is history and Gurpal is now focussed on the assignments ahead.
“My primary target is to do well in the World Championships and look for a quota place. I will think about other things after that.”
The remarkable success of Indian shooters at international events, including the Olympics and World Cups, has paved the way for youngsters to take up the sport professionally.
“Indian shooters have been doing exceedingly well internationally. The government, the federation (National Rifle Association of India) is doing whatever needs to be done and that’s why I fell we can do even better.”