Important to make sports TV friendly for viewers, says Viren Rasquinha

MUMBAI:  For the upcoming Hero Hockey India League (HIL) the Mumbai franchise has roped in former Hockey India captain Viren Rasquinha as its strategic advisor and mentor.  Rasquinha is also the CEO of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ).

OGQ is a non-profit organisation, founded by Indian sporting legends like Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone that helps Indian athletes win Olympic Gold medals. One of the athletes that is part of the organisations portfolio is five time Amateur Boxing World Champion – Mary Kom.

Speaking about the organisation, Rasquinha informs, “We currently support the training of 58 athletes across six individual Olympic sports like badminton, boxing, shooting, athletics, archery and wrestling.  We are happy with the progress at the London 2012 Olympics as four out of the six Olympic medal winners were supported by OGQ. These are Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom. And incidentally post the Olympics the other two winners Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt are also supported by us.”

 Moreover, athletes supported by OGQ have won 16 medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 13 medals at the Incheon Asian Games.

Rasquinha was speaking at an event where Mary Kom was presented a Rs 5 lakh cheque by Edelweiss that was collected via crowd funding. This was followed by a discussion on how the sports portfolio in India is seeing a growth through ongoing alternate sports leagues. Voicing his opinions on the improved television coverage of sports he comments, “Television coverage is definitely helping the growth of sports. I feel TV is the king today. And it is very important to make it a good package on screen. Star Sports for example has done a fantastic job in producing the Hockey India League, Pro Kabaddi League and the ongoing Indian Super League. I also think it’s important to make sports TV friendly for viewers.”

 On the opportunities presented by the upcoming leagues, he says, “It is a good sign for Indian sports as it is now becoming more mature and professional. It has attracted better TV coverage and sponsorships. Leagues are also presenting   multiple job opportunities.  But the quality of performance of Indian teams in the respective sports will only improve when we rub shoulders with the best talent in the world.”

Delving into the upcoming season of HIL and Olympics, he says that Olympics remains a big challenge and it is important to keep improving and helping athletes in the best possible way. Rasquinha is also excited about the new role coming his way as the mentor of HIL’s Mumbai franchise and is content with the coaching team and the players selected.


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