Pune’s sports-loving people warmed up to the idea of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) and donated generously at a recent fund-raiser event.

A non-profit foundation, OGQ received pledge for Rs. 1.5 crore from nearly 50 persons at a dinner held at an upmarket hotel in Pune.

Speaking to The Hindu, OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha said: “This is by far the biggest pledge we have received. We have already received a few cheques and hope to collect the remaining by the end of March. Mr. Manish Sabade (CMD, Guardian Corporation) will head the Pune chapter. He has made a commitment of Rs. 25 lakh.”

OGQ presently has under its wing 37 senior sportspersons in archery, athletics, badminton, boxing, shooting, wrestling and winter sports and 15 junior scholarship athletes (11-18 age group).

The Pune fund-raiser is likely to take OGQ past its target of Rs. 4 crore for 2013-14. Much of it would be spent on athletes for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. The OGQ raised Rs. 4 crore and spent as much last year. It has set a target of Rs. 6 crore for 2014-15 and Rs. 7 crore for 2015-16, all for the Rio Olympics.

Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone, wrestler Sushil Kumar and woman boxer M.C. Mary Kom attended the launch.

Crowd-funding programme

OGQ raises money by way of online contributions, dinner meets, one-on-one meetings with individuals and corporates, on-line crowd funding, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) donations and from non-resident Indians.

It raised Rs. 10 lakh through a dedicated online crowd funding programme for Shiva Keshavan to take part in the Sochi winter Olympics. It will soon launch a two-month (April 1 to May 31) on-line crowd-funding programme to raise Rs. 20 lakh for four athletes selected for the Commonwealth and Asian Games

Rasquinha feels there is big potential when the CSR opens its doors to sports. “From April 1 onwards, sports activity will come under CSR. We are also trying to get tax exemptions from the US Government to augment contributions from American NRIs.”

More In: Other Sports | Sport