Mumbai: Non-profit sports foundation Olympic Gold Quest has chalked out plans to extend its support to 40 athletes by this year-end and help them train for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to its chief executive officer Viren Rasquinha.
"We are continuously researching for athletes for the 2016 Olympics. We have 31 of them on board and we want to take that number to at least 40 by the end of this year. Our priority sports are badminton, boxing, shooting, athletics, archery and wrestling. So we are sticking to these sports," said the former India hockey captain here.
Two days ago OGQ signed up two-time Olympic wrestling medallist Sushil Kumar till the Rio Games as an advisor to identify young talent.
"Sushil himself approached OGQ and he was keen that we support him. As we know, he is going for his third Olympic medal and we hope that in Rio he can finally win a gold medal. He has come this far on his own efforts and merit," Rasquinha said.
On the foundation`s future plans, he said, "As far as the future is concerned, we have a two-pronged plan. One is preparing for the Rio Olympics.
"The other part is the OGQ scholarship programme, a long-term programme, where we are identifying and grooming young athletes for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. Both are equally important keeping in mind our short-term and long-term goals."
The Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games will be held next year and Rasquinha said, "Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are stepping stones in the lead up to the Olympics, so we are putting a lot of focus on them."
The CWG are to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3, 2014 followed by the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Septermber 19 to October 4.
"A lot of the athletes that we have taken now, it is not that all of them will become overnight medal winning athletes. You have to get them up the ladder, one step at a time. We are constantly figuring out how to take an athlete`s performance in the individual sport to the next level," he remarked.