Geet Sethi: Winning medals is the focus

The former billiards player was referring to the priority shift among Indian achievers supported by the OGQ in the Olympic preparations.

Former hockey captain M. M. Somaya interacts with Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone during a press conference of the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), in Mumbai.   -  PTI

Geet Sethi brought forth the change in perception about Indian sportspersons heading for the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio. “Winning medals is the focus for the Indians who have gained qualification. We do not go to the Games to just participate,” said the cuesport legend and co-founder of the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ).

He was referring to the priority shift among Indian achievers supported by the OGQ in the Olympic preparations. “Winning medals is the motivation and an Olympic gold medal is what excites them. We have converted cynicism and frustration into positivity.”

OGQ co-founder Prakash Padukone, speaking on the Olympic preparations, said: “The government is doing a lot to support Olympians preparing for Rio, apart from private bodies like us doing our bit.”

Shooters, shuttlers and boxers on the OGQ support list for the Rio Games, starting this August, presented their viewpoints. The two legends also responded to a query about the selection controversy in the men’s 74kg freestyle category, involving Sushil Kumar and Narsing Yadav.

The selection issue is now in Delhi High Court, with the Wrestling Federation of India asked to respond to Sushil’s appeal for a selection trial bout. “I don’t want to get into the negativity part. It’s not the purpose of my core existence here today. My purpose is to see that athletes prepare well. Every sport has its own rules and own selection criteria. I am not here as a judge trying to impose my viewpoint on how selections should be done.” said Sethi.

Padukone explained: “We (OGQ) work with the federations and the government. We are not here to fight or give our thoughts. We don’t want to get into the administrative or selection process. We leave it to the federation on selection matters.”

Beijing Olympics bronze medallist and London Olympics silver medallist Sushil Kumar is one of the Rio hopefuls supported by the OGQ. The Olympic quota for India in the 74kgs was earned by Yadav at an international event where Sushil did not compete.