Govt is doing a lot for athletes but gap is still there: Sethi

Chennai: The government is doing a lot for the athletes now but there is a big gap between what the sportsersons require and what was being delivered to them, Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) Director Geet Sethi said today.

Sethi, nine-time world billiards champion, said they are doing their bit to fill in some of the gap through said at OGQ which supports many athletes who are medal hopes for 2016 Rio Games.

Sethi along with many sporting heroes of present and past such as chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand, who is also a OGQ Director, shooter Gagan Narang, archer Deepika Kumari and former hockey player Viren Rasquinha jointly unveiled a banner.

On being asked how difficult it is to deal with the government, Sethi said they do not deal with them.

“We do not ask government for money. What we have done is that we have recognised what the government is doing for the athletes. It is doing a lot. Gone are the days when I myself was insane and shouting against the government. But that was 10-15 years ago. Government is spending a lot of money on the athletes. But I think there is a gap between what the athletes need and delivered to them,” Sethi said.

“Sometimes, it is the sheer nature of institution of government. It is not Indian government, it is true of governments in the world. It does not allow them to work with the speed, which the athletes require. We have just come in and supplement that gap. It could be a gap of one per cent or 20 percent. We would like to believe that we are complimenting now. So there is no fight or frustration in our minds in GOQ.”

Speaking on the occasion, five-time world champion Anand said, “Pressure plays a lot on the minds of sportspersons.”

“Many of the titles that I won on my second or third attempts more often on third attempt. I had to go through the feelings of not winning but realising that life goes on and somehow I felt much calmer. The other thing is that you need to pick in few seconds, some moments that you are not able to put up with. When you get to used to that you are able to deal with pressure better. Learning to control your nerves, control yourself inside out what you get simply by training and further training.”

Speaking about pressure, Gagan Narang said every athlete undergoes such moment.

“It can happen today and it can happen to another athletes the next day. Everyone knows what I am going through…What went wrong.”

Rasquinha, former hockey Olympian head of the OGQ administration said, “We support even junior athletes numbering 49 including 11 and 12 year olds. We understand that athletes will do their best and therefore winning the trust of athletes and their parents very often get us successes. For example, we started supporting P V Sindu when she was 14 years old and she was 215 in the world. We sent her to compete in lot of events in the world and funded either her mother or gather to accompany her. Similarly we did the same to Saina Nehwal too. To win the trust of the athletes is the biggest achievement for OGQ over the years. ”

Rasquinha also said that the OGQ would be spending about Rs.10 to 12 crore for traning of athletes, including those who have already booked their quota berths and others for training and travel.