Anand: Rio Olympics will be very productive for India

With the banner ‘Let’s get behind Team India’, CEO Viren Rasquinha, along with OGQ founder-director Geet Sethi and director and five-time World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, interacted with the media, promoting some of the finest Indian athletes ahead of their Olympics journey.

The Olympic Gold Quest team — (From left) Co-founder Geet Sethi, shooter Sri Nivedita, shooter Gagan Narang, archer Deepika Kumari and former world chess champion Viswanathan Anand.   -  The Hindu

Viswanathan Anand is one of the directors of Olympic Gold Quest.   -  The Hindu

The Olympic Gold Quest, which has been representing athletes and nurturing them for the upcoming Rio Olympics and many more ahead, kicked off their journey in Chennai on Friday. With the banner ‘Let’s get behind Team India’, CEO Viren Rasquinha, along with OGQ founder-director Geet Sethi and director and five-time World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand, interacted with the media, promoting some of the finest Indian athletes ahead of their Olympics journey.

London Olympics bronze medallist, Gagan Narang, was the first athlete to join OGQ. In his speech, Narang said that OGQ’s main contribution has that it supports the sportspersons unconditionally. “OGQ always said that ‘look you have shown potential, don’t worry about anything else. That’s how the road to Beijing started for me. It was a really emotional moment for me. I went to the Beijing as the favourite (he didn’t win a medal). My first was in Athens (Olympics) where I didn’t win a medal. When I went back (after Beijing Olympics), they (OGQ) said ‘OK let’s focus and start again. That is where OGQ makes a huge difference,” he said.

A non-profit organisation, OGQ supports 76 athletes currently — 49 seniors and 27 juniors — with the seniors being groomed for 2016 and 2020 Olympics and the juniors are being groomed for 2020 Tokyo and 2024 Olympics.

Ace Archer Deepika Kumari also spoke about OGQ’s contribution and how the organisation has been helping the athletes prepare.

“I am very happy to be a part of OGQ. They take care of our needs. I joined it in 2009-10. They don’t put any pressure and always support us,” she said.

Anand, who was excited of attending OGQ’s event in his hometown, said “I like OGQ as the creation of zone of excellence. They are all able to interact with us. We are a support staff to them. Someone they can call us, someone to absorb the shocks. I am optimistic that Rio (Olympics) will be very productive for us.”

Former World billiards champion and co-founder Geet Sethi said, “When I started OGQ, I wanted this to be a movement of people, for the athletes. It’s finally when they stand in the victory podium at the Olympics, they cry. They are tears of joy. That’s the beauty of the Olympic medal. The cry is felt by each one of us, not by them alone. We are 101 members (sportspersons). I look forward to 200. May be that will happen in 2020. Please support the fantastic endeavour of the athletes and understand the emotions of athletes.”

Talking about the government's role, Sethi feels despite the former doing a lot for the athletes now but there is a big gap between what the sportsersons require and what was being delivered to them.

“We do not ask government for money. What we have done is that we have recognised what the government is doing for the athletes. It is doing a lot. Gone are the days when I myself was insane and shouting against the government. But that was 10—15 years ago. Government is spending a lot of money on the athletes. But I think there is a gap between what the athletes need and delivered to them,” Sethi said.

“Sometimes, it is the sheer nature of institution of government. It is not Indian government, it is true of governments in the world. It does not allow them to work with the speed, which the athletes require. We have just come in and supplement that gap. It could be a gap of one per cent or 20 percent. We would like to believe that we are complimenting now. So there is no fight or frustration in our minds in GOQ.”

“Pressure plays a lot on the minds of sportspersons. Many of the titles that I won on my second or third attempts more often on third attempt. I had to go through the feelings of not winning but realising that life goes on and somehow I felt much calmer. The other thing is that you need to pick in few seconds, some moments that you are not able to put up with. When you get to used to that you are able to deal with pressure better. Learning to control your nerves, control yourself inside out what you get simply by training and further training.”

Speaking about pressure, Narang said, “It can happen today and it can happen to another athletes the next day. Everyone knows what I am going through...what went wrong.”

Rasquinha added, “We support even junior athletes numbering 49 including 11 and 12 year olds. We understand that athletes will do their best and therefore winning the trust of athletes and their parents very often get us successes. For example, we started supporting P V Sindu when she was 14 years old and she was 215 in the world. We sent her to compete in lot of events in the world and funded either her mother or gather to accompany her. Similarly we did the same to Saina Nehwal too. To win the trust of the athletes is the biggest achievement for OGQ over the years. ”

Last week, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa became the 100 and 101 athletes to be part of OGQ’s family.