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Geet Sethi wants the government to do more for athletes

Rohan Nagaraj
387   //    14 Nov 2015, 17:25 IST
The OGQ team prepares for the Rio 2016 Olympics

Nine-time Billiards world champion and director of Olympic Gold Quest Geet Sethi has stated that the government has a lot to do, in terms of bridging the gap between the athletes needs and the facilities they receive, reports The New Indian Express. 

Sethi along with many other sporting heroes such as chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand, who is also a OGQ Director, Olympic medallist Gagan Narang, archer Deepika Kumari and former hockey player Viren Rasquinha jointly unveiled a banner of support for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics.

He also recollected his journey as a co-founder of the Olympic Gold Quest(OGQ), which sponsered a single athlete at that time, and has grown on to sponser and support more than 100 athletes since.

“I had started OGQ in 2001 but I hadn’t raised a single penny till 2007. And that’s when I met Shitin Desai. When I told him that I was yet to raise a penny but I have an athlete in mind, he gave me a cheque for `25 lakhs. From that till today – Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa were out 100th and 101st athletes – it’s been special,” he said.

The champion player also spoke about how India needs a lot more establishments like OGQ to support eligible athletes. “OGQ is at present a small organisation. A lot needs to be done for Indian sport. OGQ is not the answer for all things that plagues Indian sport. I hope we can reach a stage where we can address all issues. When that would be I don’t know. At present our focus is on Olympic medals.”

He also stressed on the role of the government in supporting athletes for International events, and said that government needed to bridge the gap between the athletes needs and the facilities.

"We do not ask government for money. What we have done is that we have recognised what the government is doing for the athletes. It is doing a lot. Gone are the days when I myself was insane and shouting against the government. But that was 10-15 years ago. Government is spending a lot of money on the athletes. But I think there is a gap between what the athletes need and delivered to them.”

Five-time chess world champion Vishwanathan Anand stated that pressure in any sport was inevitable and it came down to the individual mindset in handling such situations. "Pressure plays a lot on the minds of sportspersons. Many of the titles that I won on my second or third attempts more often on third attempt. I had to go through the feelings of not winning but realising that life goes on and somehow I felt much calmer.”

“The other thing is that you need to pick in few seconds, some moments that you are not able to put up with. When you get to used to that you are able to deal with pressure better. Learning to control your nerves, control yourself inside out what you get simply by training and further training,” he remarked. 

Olympic medallist in shooting, Gagan Narang too echoed the sentiments of Anand. "It can happen today and it can happen to another athletes the next day. Everyone knows what I am going through...What went wrong."