With exactly a year to go for the London Olympics, Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) announced that it was putting together the best possible package to help the athletes in their pursuit for the gold medals.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OGQ, Viren Rasquinha, said that five select athletes would get the support of ‘performance and mental strength' coach, Abha Maryada Banerjee.

He recalled how Banerjee had worked wonders with rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput and had helped him win the World Cup gold recently in qualifying for the Olympics.

Rasquinha mentioned that a personal masseur, Kassenova Kacehoba of Kazakhstan would help the shooters, who often complain of back and shoulder stiffness. The rifle coach of the Indian team, Stanislav Lapidus, had recommended the masseur who has the experience of having worked with shooters.

One of the bright prospects in Indian sports, badminton ace Saina Nehwal will have the advantage of video analysis through the company Sports Mechanics.

Rasquinha said that S. Ramakrishnan, popularly known as ‘Ramki' who had worked with the Indian cricket team for five years, would be working closely working with coach Gopi Chand, so as to give quick clips that would help the player assimilate the relevant points easily.

“We collect information, and generate intelligence,” said Ramki, quite confident that his company would play a significant role in the quest for the Olympic gold, after having asserted its utility in the cricket world.

Rasquinha clarified that in due course of time, the technology would be extended to other sportspersons as well.

Launching the new website, www.olympicgoldquest.in, actor Deepika Padukone, one of the Directors of OGQ, said that she was happy to be associated with the initiative and be on board. 

Deepika, a former national level badminton player, revealed that she had planned to support athletes in her individual capacity a couple of years ago, but was pleased to join OGQ, started by her father Prakash Padukone, in association with Geet Sethi.

With her quick wit, Deepika said that she would love her father, Prakash, to get the Bharat Ratna, when posed with the query as to who should get the honour first, Dhyan Chand or Sachin Tendulkar.

Rasquinha said that the scheme ‘power your champions', by which individuals offer Rs. 100 every month, automatically done through an electronic clearing system, was gaining strength, and the movement was gathering intensity, increasing the involvement of the sports minded people, towards a golden cause at an affordable rate.

Announcing the signing of boxer Manoj Kumar, who had clinched a gold in the Commonwealth Games, Rasquinha said that he expected about 15 athletes, supported by OGQ, to represent the country in the London Games next year, and was categorical that the drive would be towards giving them the best support, and not worrying as to who would win the medal.

He also said that funding for athlete A.C. Ashwini, in news for doping offense, had been stopped, but emotional support was being extended to her to tackle the difficult situation.

Rasquinha said that the athletes' education regarding dope, was being handled by Dr. Vece Paes.

The latest Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee, rifle shooter Gagan Narang said that it was a very interesting situation for Indian shooting in particular with one year to go for the Games, and that he himself expected his Olympic experiences in Athens and Beijing to count and help him strike the medal in London.

“Every Olympic Games is a huge test. I am better experienced, and hopefully better prepared. I will give my best, and hope that the best is good enough on that day,” Narang said.

Five-time world champion in women's boxing, Mary Kom, said that she was looking forward to qualifying for the Olympics, and her target was to pin the Olympic gold.

Conceding that the athletes would face tremendous pressure from the whole nation, Deepika said that the athletes themselves would want the Olympic medal more than anybody else in the country, and that everyone should just help them stay focused on the task.

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