Walker Irfan, two other sportsmen join OGQ list

Mumbai: Walker K T Irfan, who surprised everyone with his creditable 10th place finish at the London Games in the 20km walk race, is a new addition to the list of talented sportspersons supported by the Olympic Gold Quest.

The 22-year-old Kerala-based athlete, who sold off a piece of his ancestral property to meet expenses during his five-month training for the London Games, clocked an impressive 1 hour, 20 minutes and 21 seconds – the new national mark – in the Olympics.

"I am very happy to be part of the OGQ family and I will give my best to bring laurels to my country," said the havaldar with the Madras Regimental Centre.

"If I have to improve my performance at the Rio 2016 Olympics, then I have to start my preparations from now. OGQ support will be instrumental in improving my technique and ensuring that I remain in peak fitness for major competitions," a press release quoted him as saying.

Along with Irfan, OGQ – founded by sports legends Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi – has also decided to support two other youngsters – pistol shooter Amanpreet Singh and javelin thrower Rajesh Bind.

Jalandhar-born Amanpreet, who took up shooting at the age of 13, is the current national champion in 10m Air Pistol and also one of India's top shooters in the 50m Free Pistol event.

UP-born Bind is a promising 18-year-old javelin thrower who trains at the Army Sports Institute in Pune and is the current junior national record holder with an impressive throw of 80.14m and is only the third Indian and the first junior in the country to cross the 80m mark.

OGQ CEO Viren Rasquinha said that the trio will be provided all the support and motivation by his organisation.

"All three athletes are very talented and OGQ will provide them all the support and motivation to become an Olympic champion."

 "Irfan was a revelation at the London Olympics and OGQ will be providing him world class kit, medical support and more exposure to international training and competition to take his performance to the next level," said the former India hockey captain.

"Amanpreet has been one of India's most consistent pistol shooters. We will be arranging training for him under a world class coach. He will also be working under a mental trainer which is a crucial aspect of shooting."

"Rajesh is definitely the most exciting junior athlete in India. The challenge is to facilitate a smooth transition to the senior circuit. We will be getting him world class equipment, medical support as well as sending him abroad for competitions," he added.

Amanpreet thanked OGQ for their support and said his aim is to win an Olympic medal for the country.

"In my shooting career there have been multiple times when I felt that I could have performed better, if I had better support at the right time. I am very grateful that I now have the backing of OGQ. It gives me tremendous confidence to give my best. My dream is to win an Olympic medal for India," he said.

Bind said the support of OGQ gives him the encouragement and inspiration to train harder and keep on improving.

"I am so glad that OGQ is supporting junior athletes like me for 2016 Olympics. I hope I can shine for my country and win at the Olympics," he said.

OGQ, a not-for-profit sports NGO, supports training and preparation of 42 sports persons across 5 individual Olympic sports – badminton, boxing, shooting, archery and athletics.

"Out of the 42, 29 are being trained for the 2016 Rio Olympics, while the rest are part of the Junior Scholarship programme and they are being groomed for the 2020-2024 Olympics," said the release.