London: Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Monday congratulated Gagan Narang for winning a bronze medal in the men's 10m Air Rifle event at the London Olympics and announced that the ace marksman will be offered a job as a Group A employee in the Sports Authority of India, which is equivalent to an IAS officer.

"Had it not been for one shot, Gagan could have won the gold as well. All these Olympians whether they win a medal or not would be provided an officer grade job with the SAI.

"A medal winner will straight away be promoted as Group A employee which is an IAS officer rank. So Gagan can be an IAS officer," Maken told reporters outside the Royal Artillery Barracks where Narang opened India's account in the medals tally.

"Medal winners in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships straight away qualify to be an IAS officer. They would also be given cash rewards by central and state governments and by their employers also," Maken added.

Narang, an Air India employee, shot 103.1 in the nail-bitting 10-shot final for an aggregate of 701.1 after scoring 598 in the qualifying round in which also he finished third.

Narang's compatriot and defending champion Abhinav Bindra had, however, crashed out in the preliminary round finishing a dismal 16th out of 47 participants with a score of 594 out of 600.

Maken said it would have been great for the nation had Gagan and Bindra both qualified for the medal round.

"It would have been so much better had Gagan and Bindra both qualified for the medal round. But unfortunately, Bindra could not. It would have been great to see two Indian players standing at the podium. It would have been awesome," he said.


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