Tokyo Olympics Is Our Immediate Priority: Viren Rasquinha


New Delhi: The task force constituted by the Sports Ministry to prepare for the next three Olympic Games met in New Delhi on Friday for the first time and unanimously decided that an action plan for the 2020 Tokyo Games would be the panel’s immediate priority.

The responsibility of the immediate goal, i.e. to prepare an action plan for Tokyo Olympics has been entrusted to the three sportspersons in the panel – lone Olympic individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand and former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha.

“We met today for the first time and discussed various processes and protocols on how to get things done within the timeframe. We decided that our first focus is 2020 Tokyo Olympics and myself, Gopi (Gopichand) and Abhinav are in charge of that,” Rasquinha, who is a member of the panel, said.

The setting up of the task force was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just days after the end of the Rio Olympics, where India won just two medals, in order to help plan for the “effective participation” of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympics – in 2020, 2024 and 2028.

Bindra, Gopichand and Rasquinha were the only three former sportspersons named in the task force. The other five members of the task force are School Sports Promotion Board head Om Pathak, hockey coach S Baldev Singh, who runs an academy in Shahabad, GL Khanna (Professor and Dean of Exercise and Physiology at Manav Rachna International University at Faridabad), journalist Rajesh Kalra and Sports Authority of Gujarat Director General Sandeep Pradhan.

“Mr. Pradhan, Om Pathak and Baldev Singh will be in charge for 2024 and 2028 Olympics. Rajesh Kalra and GL Khanna will be helping both the sub-committees. But our first priority is 2020,” said Rasquinha, who has also been named as the spokesperson of the committee.
“Me, Abhinav and Gopi will help the other committee once we finish our immediate job of preparing a plan for 2020 Olympics.”

Rasquinha, who is also the CEO of Olympics Gold Quest, said the panel has decided to engage national and international experts and also appoint two research professionals.
“We will call national and international experts for their feedback and will also be appointing two research personal to help us,” he said.

“We will also be engaging with National Sports Federations (NSFs) and other key stakeholders.” The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for 19 February at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in New Delhi.

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