'Breaking Double Digit Barrier Possible': OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha On India’s Chances At Paris Olympics

'Breaking Double Digit Barrier Possible': OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha On India’s Chances At Paris Olympics

connectedtoindia.comUpdated: Saturday, May 04, 2024, 07:58 PM IST
article-image
OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha |

At the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, India recorded seven podium finishes — one gold, two silver medals and four bronze medals. Viren Rasquinha, CEO, Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), the former captain of the Indian Hockey Team, believes that there’s every chance for the country to reach the double-figure mark and win more than 10 medals at the upcoming games in Paris, which will take place from 26 July to 11 August.

Rasquinha now dons the hat of an administrator at OGQ, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to support and train Indian athletes to win the coveted gold medals at the Olympics and other international sporting events. Currently 400 athletes — 300 Olympians and 100 Paralympians — are under the OGQ supervision. With India looking to breach the double figure mark in Paris, some of the players supported by the organisation will need to fire for that dream to become a reality.

Founded by ace Indian snooker player Geet Sethi and Badminton legend Prakash Padukone — who is also actress Deepika Padukone’s father — and incorporated in 2001, OGQ roped in the hockey star in 2009.

“The mission of OGQ really resonated with me. It gave me the platform to help the next generation of athletes do something which I couldn’t do, which is to win an Olympic medal,” the OGQ CEO said during an exclusive interview with Connected to India’s Himanshu Verma.

“I also wanted to ensure that the mistakes that were done during my playing career, were not repeated for the next generation of athletes,” he added. Rasquinha said that the OGQ principle is to focus on excellence, a key ingredient for increasing the country’s medal tally at the biggest sporting event.

The programme has so far been successful in its mission, playing a role in nine of India’s 15 medals in the last three Olympic games. It also works closely with the central government to train athletes, after scouting them at a young age. OGQ uses government infrastructure to train the athletes, but provides them the equipment and coaching, which is otherwise an expensive affair.

One of the first athlete to get a OGQ backing was Indian shooter Gagan Narang. In just a few months, the athlete won a bronze medal in the Men’s 10 m Air Rifle Event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Another OGQ success story is shuttler Lakshya Sen. The 22-year-old is the former world junior no. 1. Currently ranked 13 by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Sen rose to the sixth position in 2022.

One of India’s brightest chances to win a medal at the Paris Olympics, Sen was scouted by the organisation when he was barely 10. He was trained at Padukone’s academy in Bangalore, after being moved from his hometown in Almora, Uttarakhand, because OGQ saw his potential and backed him throughout. “He was barely up to my waist then. Now he’s two inches taller than me,” Rasquinha shared.

The organisation is also meticulous about their working. No athlete is picked up on whim. The former Indian international explained that months of research goes into the preparation of list and only after a thorough check, the OGQ takes players under its wing.

“Shooting needs to break its duck,” Rasquinha said. India of late hasn’t been able to register medal in the sport at the mega games. With the qualification of over a dozen Indian shooters at the Paris Games, the country will hope to see some podium finishes from the contingent.

Watch the full interview to know more about Rasquihna and OGQ.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected To India)

RECENT STORIES

Video: Kylian Mbappe Left With Bloody Nose After FRA vs AUT UEFA 2024 Match

Video: Kylian Mbappe Left With Bloody Nose After FRA vs AUT UEFA 2024 Match

UEFA Euro 2024: Ivan Schranz's Solitary Goal Stuns Belgium As Slovakia Make Dream Debut

UEFA Euro 2024: Ivan Schranz's Solitary Goal Stuns Belgium As Slovakia Make Dream Debut

WI vs AFG, T20 World Cup 2024: West Indies Make It 4 In 4 As They Steamroll Afghanistan

WI vs AFG, T20 World Cup 2024: West Indies Make It 4 In 4 As They Steamroll Afghanistan

Video: Nicholas Pooran Hammers 36 Off 1 Over In WI vs AFG T20 World Cup 2024 Match

Video: Nicholas Pooran Hammers 36 Off 1 Over In WI vs AFG T20 World Cup 2024 Match

NBA Finals 2024: Boston Celtics Beat Dallas Mavericks To Clinch 18th Title

NBA Finals 2024: Boston Celtics Beat Dallas Mavericks To Clinch 18th Title