Hello Keedas, I caught up with Viren Wilfred Rasquinha, former captain of Indian Hockey team recently. Viren is COO at Olympic Gold Quest these days which aims to bridge the gap between India’s best and the world’s best. Olympic Gold Quest is a Non-Profit Foundation which deserves to be supported by every Indian sporting fan. What many of you may not know is that Viren is not only a renowned sportsperson but he has excelled in the field of academics as well. He is a product of the elite Indian School of Business, Hyderabad (Class of 2009). So, read on to check what Viren has to say on Hockey, ISB, Olympic Gold Quest and much more …
Anshu@SportsKeeda – How did you manage to be a School Topper, Captain of Indian Hockey Team as well and now an ISB alumnus! How do you manage to be good at all you try Viren?
Viren Rasquinha – I have always had the determination to do whatever I set out to do very well and I have the ability to switch off and switch on from a young age. When I go out and play, I give my 100 % and when I study I give 100 % as well. When I went back to ISB, it was tough to study again after a break of 8 years but I was prepared mentally to study hard. I learnt from my mistakes and prepared smarter while applying to ISB.
Anshu@SportsKeeda – Why did you quit Hockey at such a young age last year?
Viren Rasquinha – A few reasons … It’s not true that I was frustrated because of system prevailing and politics. I wanted to quit when I was at the top of my game. Exactly like you are asking, everyone asks me why did you quit Viren and not when will you quit! So, I announced my decision post my ISB admission to quit hockey
Anshu@SportsKeeda – Did you ever feel that you should have played on till the 2010 World Cup in India?
Viren Rasquinha – As I said, I always gave my all while I played for India. Once I got ISB admission, I decided to quit playing hockey. I was thinking of doing a MBA right from 2004. It didn’t cross my mind as to whether I should hang on till the 2010 World cup.
Anshu@SportsKeeda – In spite of having world class players such as you, Gagan Ajeet Singh, Jugraj and Dhanraj Pillay, why did Indian Hockey team not win as much as it should have in the recent past?
Viren Rasquinha – I agree, we had a great generation of players and underachieved but the problems in Indian hockey have a very deep back ground for example the standard of domestic hockey is poor. There is lack of proper coaching, wrong technique is taught to youngsters, wrong fitness and diet regime is followed. We need to put it all together and I am optimistic about the future of Indian Hockey. These problems can be resolved.
Anshu@SportsKeeda – What do you feel about India’s chances at the upcoming World Cup?
Viren Rasquinha – It will be tough to achieve a top 6 finish. We have a tough group as well but with home support we can really do well. The top 4 teams, Holland, Germany, Spain and Australia are really strong but after the top 4, any team can win on its day. So India will have a good chance as well provided they are consistent.
Anshu@SportsKeeda – Which are the moments as a player which you cherish?
Viren Rasquinha – My first match at Athens Olympics, 2004 against Holland as it was always my dream to represent India at the Olympics. It was phenomenal walking out to play for India. Playing against the Pakistan in Chandigarh in the India Pakistan series and winning Asia cup against Pakistan by a 4-2 margin were memorable experiences as well. Also, our victory at the Junior World Cup in Hobart in 2001 a memorable one.
Anshu@SportsKeeda – And which defeats do you consider to be the disappointments of your Hockey career Viren?
Viren Rasquinha – In 2002, 2003, 2004 we consecutively lost close matches to Pakistan in Champions Trophy for third and fourth place playoff. Another huge disappointment was the 3-4 loss to Australian at the Athens Olympics which experts have claimed to be the best match of the tournament for its quality.
Anshu@Sportskeeda – How was your experience at ISB?
Viren Rasquinha – It was one of the best years of my life and a phenomenal learning experience. Initially, I had doubts about whether I could cope up with the intensity of the course but was determined to do well and worked hard at ISB. There were world class professors and the learning from peers was fantastic as well. At the start of the program, I knew no one but by the end of the program I had 440 friends (The ISB Class of 2009 had 440 students)!
Anshu@SportsKeeda – After ISB, you have been associated with Olympic Gold Quest, when did you think of joining OGQ? How is OGQ generating required funding to help sportspersons?
Viren Rasquinha – Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone approached me once I graduated from ISB. I was scheduled to join a firm in Delhi but I accepted Geet and Prakash’s offer as it was too good to resist. I am happy to be a part of OGQ. Right now the private sector is providing funding as we have strong credibility owing to the stature of our Board of Directors. But for sustained funding, what will matter is performance and professionalism. Only merit counts in the long run.
Anshu@SportsKeeda – OGQ has an interesting concept as in it deals with proven potentials and is working towards improving their Olympic medal chances. Are you happy with the progress at OGQ
Viren Rasquinha – Yes, I am happy with the direction in which OGQ is moving. Some of our bright hopes are Mary Kom, 4 time Boxing World Champion Gagan Narang, our world record holding shooter and of course Saina Nehwal. Mary Kom is 46 kg and will fight in the 48 to 51 kg category (one of the categories for women’s Boxing at 2012 Olympics in London, there is no category below 48 kg). So, she has to fight with people who are around 5 kg more than her in natural weight. Reach also plays a big role in boxing as you know. Since, women’s boxing has become an Olympic Sport, coaches all around the world are analyzing Mary Kom’s game. So these are the kind of challenges OGQ will help her improve upon
Anshu@SportsKeeda – Wonderful, so OGQ has a holistic approach towards training sportspersons. Is that correct?
Viren Rasquinha – Yes, every aspect is looked into including fitness, training and the psychological dimension as well. Everything is planned to improve performance. There is a limit to which raw talent can succeed; you need to have best possible back up. We must keep in mind though that nothing is guaranteed, you might get injured, be out of form on the given day. Our goal is to help good athletes do better!
Anshu@SportsKeeda – Thanks for speaking to SportsKeeda Viren and good luck for the future!
Viren Rasquinha – Thank you.
That’s all Keedas. I hope all of you enjoyed this conversation between Viren and SportsKeeda as much as I did!