Important that government recognises effort put in by athletes, says Viren Rasquinha
Olympic Gold Quest head Viren Rasquinha believes the Indian Government needs to do more to support the athletes in order to help them achieve success at the Olympics.
From captaining India in hockey to pursuing a degree in management from ISB, Hyderabad; to state that Viren Rasquinha has had an illustrious and diverse career would be an understatement. His most recent endeavour, though, that of founding and heading the Olympic Gold Quest, by his own admission has been his biggest challenge.
In a panel discussion here at SCORECARD 2015, he shed light on the current state that we as a sporting nation are in, saying, “In London 2012, a country as small and sparsely populated as Hungary won 18 medals. For many of us that might seem to be okay, but somewhere deep inside, it calls for some serious introspection of where precisely are we lacking and more importantly what do we need to do to develop in Olympic sports.”
Like most others involved in developing sports in our country, Rasquinha too emphasized on improving infrastructure and practice facilities. “Today when I go and see a kid playing hockey, he is taught to play in the exact same way that I was - some 2 decades back and that is extremely unfortunate. Our system has got to change; we need to evolve in our training methods and only then can we hope to be at par with some of the top sporting nations in the world,” he said.
“We, at OGQ are trying to do our bit. But then it has to be taken into account that while we operate on a budget of 10 crores a year, the government’s sanctions are exponentially greater. It thus is important that they reciprocate the efforts put in by our athletes. It’s noteworthy here that the funds released post the Beijing Olympics and the amount released currently are around the same, and that is a little unfortunate,” he lamented.
Also, part of the discussion was World Champion and ace archer Rahul Banerjee, who added, “What OGQ is doing is extraordinary. The difference between what they do and the government does, in fact, is simple - they are sports people and hence they value us a lot more. If we need medical help or equipment or anything, all we need to do is mail them and not endure hoards of procedures that we are usually made to undertake otherwise.”
Rahul summed it up brilliantly, in fact, for what we need is professionalism in the way sport is managed and administered in our country. Viren and team have dared to do what no one else had dreamt of before, if only all ancillary organizations followed suit, multiple Olympic golds would not be too far-fetched a dream for us!