Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Indian Not-For-Profit Foundation striving for excellence in sports

India's only gold medal win in the Olympics came in 2008 amidst a realisation that though little but very slowly, this third-world democracy (with 1.1 billion mouths to feed) has made some progress over 112 years of the Olympic movement.

Much remains to be done in lots of areas. Professionalism in sports federations; finding, nurturing & funding world-class talent to excellence in sports; zero tolerance to domination of power-hungry sports administrators; finding sponsors; building relevant & focussed infrastructure; compulsory induction of culture of sports among school children etc etc.

While cricket, introduced in India by the erstwhile colonial masters from Great Britain, continues to hog the attention & passion of most Indians; the fact remains that it is still played by only 8 countries in the international level while other sports lie in neglect merely because the commercial sponsors do not see any benefit in attracting eyeballs or attention from associating their name to such events.

In order to leapfrog India's populace's interest both as viewers as well as participants, surely what India needs is some more Gold medals in Olympics in disciplines like athletics, shooting ,boxing, wrestling where traditionally Indians have done better.

To bridge this gap, a not-for-profit foundation, has been set up with an apt name like Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ in short) whose motto is to give that extra push in terms of funding & training to the world-class Indian talents so that they don't fall short of the ultimate excellence in sports, the Olympic Gold.

In a country where issues like poverty & mass livelihood dominate all discussions, world-class sporting talents often are the victims of the mass mediocrity that kill all ambitions & funding to nurture such talents towards excellence.

The two men behind this foundation have impressive sporting credentials of their own. Geet Sethi is a eight time World champion in Billiards while Prakash Padukone was the All England champion in Badminton. Some of the other Directors include Niraj Bajaj, who is an industrialist & also an ex-National Table Tennis Champion; Ramaraj a renowned techie entrepreneur & a Venture Capitalist & surprisingly a couple of investment bankers. The advisory board has members like PT Usha , the sprint queen of India as well as notable figures from the sports media. The icing on the cake is the COO, Viren Rasquinha, an ex-captain of the Indian hockey team who followed up his sporting career with an MBA in marketing & strategy from ISB, Hyderabad (a business school ranked 15th in thw world).

If relevant credentials in sports or management were not enough, what separates this NFP from countless others, is their declaration that they would like to be evangelists in spreading this movement across sports-passionate Indians all over the globe. And the contributions from Indians to OGQ will be spent 100% after the sportsmen only. No leakage towards administration or other expenses.

OGQ is a not-for-profit foundation that has in one stroke covered professionalism with integrity & accountability and looks to be a sure shot model for success.

Here's wishing them all the best.

No comments: