Rasquinha: 'Creating a pool of world-class Indian coaches is priority'

Boxing, badminton, shooting, archery and wrestling are the five sports in which India could pose stiff challenge and stand a realistic chance of winning Olympic medals, Viren Rasquinha, CEO, Olympic Gold Quest, said.

Olympic Gold Quest CEO Viren Rasquinha (right) and P Kashyap in Chennai on Friday.   -  R. Ravindran

Viren Rasquinha, CEO, Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), in a lecture at the Madras School of Economics on Friday here, said that creating a pool of world-class Indian coaches in five years’ time is a priority for the OGQ programme.

Boxing, badminton, shooting, archery and wrestling are the five sports in which India could pose stiff challenge and stand a realistic chance of winning Olympic medals, he said. “OGQ has eleven foreign coaches for these five sports now. One of our aims is to create a pool of World-class Indian coaches in five years’ time.”

He said that 145 athletes across eight individual sports are sponsored by the programme presently.

According to him, there are 58 senior athletes preparing for the 2020 Olympics, and 87 juniors for the 2024 and ‘28 Olympics. On the report submitted by the Olympic Task Force that he’s a part of, he said, “We’ve worked hard and submitted a thorough report. We worked on it for around six months. We’ve broken it up into two components. A short-term one with the focus on the Tokyo Olympics. A long-term one in which we look at the culture of sports in the country, getting sports as an integral part of education. The government has already started rolling out a few recommendations.”

Himself a former Indian hockey team captain, he said that the present team had to have the self-belief to close out matches and be more consistent, reviewing India’s third-place finish in the recently concluded Hockey World League. “As far as the end result is concerned, finishing third, I would say, is very good. But from a microscopic point of view, there’s a lot to improve. I mean, we played six matches and won only one in the regulation time. One problem is consistency. The team has to be more consistent throughout a match, throughout a tournament. It also needs self-belief to close out matches.”

In the same event, India badminton star Parupalli Kashyap said that he is doubtful if he’ll make the cut for selection of the Indian team for the 2018 Commonwealth games. The team will be selected in January, he said. “I doubt if I’ll make it for the CWG selection. The selection will be in January. I’m probably a bit late (with recovery). But I’m not stressing about it. I just need to regain full fitness. This year had been tough. I picked up a shoulder injury during the Premier Badminton League at the start of the year. It took me three to four months to recover. Then I kept having some niggles. So, overall I couldn’t play in enough competitions to improve my ranking. I’ve gotten better now. But still it’ll take some time,” he added.