Ace Indian woman shuttler Saina Nehwal's golden run in the Hong Kong Super Series tournament was funded entirely by the Olympic Gold Quest founded by sports legends Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi.
"Saina's trip to Hong Kong, as well as those of her coach Bhakar Babu and physio, was entirely funded by the Olympic Gold Quest. It was all arranged within two days of her requesting the same," said former All England Badminton champion Prakash at a media conference today to launch OGQ's new initiative "Power your Champion" here.
Prakash said timely help given to a sportsperson can make a huge difference. "Perhaps government funding had ended this year with the Asian Games. This is where we are different and help players by cutting down on the bureaucrats hurdle as much as possible," the shuttle legend said.
OGQ, with Prakash, cue wizard Sethi, former national table tennis champion Niraj Bajaj, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand and tennis champion Leander Paes on its board, honoured two of its stablemates - rifle shooting ace Gagan Narang and five-time women's world boxing champion M C Mary Kom.
Narang, who won four gold medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in October, said, "This year has been a dream run for me as I won 16 medals including ten gold, three silver and three bronze medals". "OGQ has helped me focus on my sport by taking care of my other requirements whenever I needed," said the ace Hyderabad-based marksman.
Mary Kom, who fought in a higher weight class than she is used to at the Asian Games in Guangzhou where she could get only a bronze in the 51kg, said it was not difficult to graduate to a higher weight category. "It's not difficult to play in a higher weight category. Unluckily I lost in the semi finals of the Asian Games (to two-time world 52kg champion Ren Cancan of China), but next time I would be ready," said the Imphal-based boxer.
"I want to fulfill the dream of winning the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics (in London)," she added. OGQ's COO and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha said that two new sportspersons have joined the initiative. "Woman 100m hurlder Gayatri Govindaraj, 19 years of age and a junior national record holder and a senior national champion, and pistol shooter Annu Raj Singh have been roped in.
We already have 23 athletes who have won 27 medals in CWG and AG, including 12 gold," he said. About the new initiative "Power your Champion", Rasquinha said it was basically to make OGQ into a mass movement. "If Rs 100 per month is given to OGQ by 10 lakh Indians OGQ can support 2000 talented athletes at various levels," he said. "We have roped in six young talents with a view at the 2016 Olympics. But further down we are aiming at the 2020 Games," he declared.