Manisha Malhotra, CEO, Mittal Champions TrustThe monkey is finally off our back. At least the critics can rest for a few days since Gagan has silenced the entire nation?for now! His stellar performance under immense pressure does alleviate a little bit of the pressure that was building up around the Indian contingent.Since we don’t come from a contingent that wins too many medals, every medal provides a huge boost in momentum for the other athletes and makes them relax a little that they don’t have to win the nation its first medal. There is a new sense of purpose around the athletes and seeing Gagan Narang deliver has made them believe they can, too. This is something that has been imperative for successful games for the Indian contingent. The interesting fact is that the Air Rifle–the 10m kind–has won us our biggest medals in the last two Olympics. So what is the secret to our success?It is not a main stream sport that people would have probably heard of before Abhinav Bindra, so how come we are managing to beat world results? While there are several interesting scenarios out there, that the sport doesn’t require that much physical prowess (which is not true), or that it is a precision sport and we are very good at precision sports (so why didn’t we ever win before?), and other off-the-wall ones like our athletes practise this sport full time and everywhere else (except China) they have to supplement it with a day job. The truth, however, is that we actually have depth. Not only do the 10m nationals attract more than 200 entries, we now have a healthy rivalry among the competitors. There is nothing that can motivate an athlete more than competition and this is the precise scenario with both Gagan and Abhinav who have been pushing each other to higher limits.advertisementThey now set their sights on bigger and loftier goals that in turn raise the level of their games. That is the reason we are have been able to get a steady stream of results over the last 7 years in the Air Rifle event. Maybe the other sports need to take a page out of this book and start creating more players who can challenge the game. It is only then that we will have a sustainable and steady cycle of results.Well done, Gagan?you have made a nation proud.