Rasquinha: 'Execution of plans key to success in Olympics'

Former Indian hockey captain Viren Rasquinha, who's part of the eight-member task force of the sports ministry, believes that proper implementation of plans will be key to the Indian athletes' success in the upcoming Olympics.

Viren Rasquinha is one of the three sportspersons in the eight-member task force of the sports ministry.   -  R. Ragu

Entrusted with the "huge responsibility" to come up with an action plan for the next three Olympics, former national hockey captain Viren Rasquinha on Monday said proper implementation of plans will be key to the Indian athletes' success at the global stage.

Rasquinha is one of the three sportspersons -- alongside Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand -- in the eight-member task force of the sports ministry.

"It's a huge responsibility because there are very distinguished people in the panel. All of us have to come together and work with commitment and focus if we want to see Indian athletes achieve something in Olympics," Rasquinha told PTI.

"What we need is unity among all stakeholders. There will be several challenges but we will have to keep a positive frame of mind. We don't just need plans, what is important is execution. Proper execution is needed for plans to become successful," he said.

Just days after the Rio Olympics, in which India won just two medals, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the setting up of a task force, which will help plan for "effective participation" of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympics — 2020, 2024 and 2028.

Besides the three sportspersons, other five members of the task force are School Sports Promotion Board head Om Pathak, hockey coach S. Baldev Singh, who runs an academy in Shahabad, G. L. Khanna, Professor and Dean of Exercise and Physiology at Manav Rachna International University in Faridabad, journalist Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat Director General Sandeep Pradhan.

Rasquinha quit hockey at the age of 28 in 2008 to pursue management studies. He now heads the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) as its CEO. OGQ is an NGO that supports best Indian athletes in their quest to win Olympic gold medals.

"We need to support our athletes. We need to ensure that merit is there at every stage. Then only we can be a sporting nation," he said.

"I have been in the set-up since 1998 when I made my debut for the junior national team. I have seen everything as a sportsperson and I have also been on the administrative side since 2009," he said.

Being the CEO of OGQ, which supports renowned Indian sportspersons like P. V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar, Rasquinha's selection in the task force might put him in a conflict of interest.

But Rasquinha said he would be the first one to quit the committee if that was the case.

"Conflict of interest issue is something which played on my mind as well. But the terms of reference of this committee is not direct support to the athletes. It is a committee formed just to make recommendations," he said.