India’s archers returned a disappointed lot from the London Olympics last year, none of the six who participated winning a medal.
With the Indian Olympic Association suspended by the International Olympic Committee, and the Archery Association of India not paying enough attention to its wards, it was time someone came forward to take up the archers’ cause.
That step was taken by Olympic Gold Quest by signing up Deepika Kumari and Jayanta Talukdar.
OGQ will assist the two leading archers in their preparations for the 2016 Olympics, as it looks to expand its athlete base keeping in mind the next Games in Rio de Janeiro in three years time.
OGQ was set up by Indian sporting legends Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi in 2006. After years of hard work in nurturing athletes under the watchful eyes of Viren Rasquinha, it was duly rewarded when four of its athletes won medals at the London Olympics.
Rasquinha, OGQ’s Chief Executive Officer, believes that both Deepika and Talukdar are medal prospects at the Rio Games and he will do everything to ensure they get the best training.
“With just over three years to go for the Rio 2016 Olympics it is essential that we put concrete plans in place for them right away. OGQ will focus on providing them world class equipment and send them abroad for more exposure in training and competition. We will also ensure that they get the right mental training and world class medical support to stay in top shape,” informed Rasquinha, in Mumbai, on Friday.
Talukdar, 27, is the flag-bearer of Indian archery for almost a decade now after making a mark in 2006, when he won a gold medal at the World Cup in Porec, Croatia.
He is hopeful that his association with OGQ will prove beneficial and help him achieve his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal.
“I feel the association with OGQ will benefit me, because they are a non-profit organisation and concentrating their efforts on producing Olympic champions for India. At the London Olympics, because of OGQ’s support, four athletes from India won medals and I am sure we will also get the same amount of support,” he said.
Talukdar was of the opinion that India’s flop show in London was mainly because of lack of proper planning by the federation, who did not heed the team’s request to hire a mental trainer.
“I felt we struggled because we were not mentally strong for a big competition like the Olympics as we had not prepared in that area. We requested the federation to allot us a mental trainer, but they didn’t give us one.
“Also, there was no proper planning with regards to training for the Olympics. We were training in hot weather in Kolkata whereas when we went to London the weather was cold. Also, the conditions at Lord’s ground, where archery was held, were very windy while it was the opposite where we trained in Kolkata.”
He went on to add: “The Olympics come once in four years and all the top countries came well-prepared; we went in without proper preparation and planning which affected our performance.”
Deepika, 18, believes the association with OGQ will help improve her consistency.’
“OGQ knows the areas where we are lacking and they will be working on those specific areas to help us improve our overall game. That includes having sports psychologists, physical trainers, physios, dieticians and other such requirements keeping an eye on the next Olympic Games,” she said.
Rasquinha is hoping to sign up more promising individual athletes in the coming months and has appealed to the corporate world to come forward and support his organisation, which is working tirelessly over the last few years to groom champions.
He also appealed to Indian fans to contribute to the OGQ’s ‘Power Your Champion’ programme with monetary donations that will go a long way towards funding the athletes.
- To make contributions to Power Your Champions click here
Image: OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha (left) with Deepika Kumari (centre) and Jayanta Talukdar
Photograph: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com