In a major development, the Former and Current Olympians got together to form Olympians Association of India to take care of the welfare of current and former Olympians, India has produced.
This newly formed association will work as a representative body of Olympians in India and is, in the words of the members, the Official Body of Indian Olympians, for the Indian Olympians and by the Indian Olympians; in what could be similar to the democratic nature of the Organization.
Founding the Organization were acclaimed Olympians Shiva Keshavan (Luge), Viren Rasquinha (Hockey), Malav Shroff (Sailing), Adille J. Sumariwalla (Athletics), Ashwini Nachappa (Athletics), Saina Nehwal (Badminton), Hakimuddin Habibulla (Swimming) and MC Mary Kom (Women Boxing).
Also, staying with them were prominent names from Indian Sports like Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore; Minister of I & B, Olympic Gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, Double Olympic Medalist Sushil Kumar, Bronze medal winners Yogeshwar Dutt, London Games Bronze winner Gagan Narang and Beijing Olympic Bronze medalist boxer Vijendra Singh among others. All Indian Olympians will be registered members and will contribute for the cause and at the same time mutually benefit from projects initiated by the OAI.
The association, a first and only non-profit organisation by Olympians for Olympians in India, the OAI is directly affiliated to the World Olympians Association (WOA) under the International Olympic Committee and backed by the Indian Olympic Association.
On its foundation day itself, the OAI not only has got their official voice on the microblogging site Twitter, their official website launched and have their road map ready; in line with that the association proposes to look after the welfare of former and current Olympians through their careers and beyond and has already drawn a road map and put emphasis on a few areas for the development of the athletes such as outreach, education and skill development, education and health insurance and pension, mentoring of young athletes, legal advice and IOC athlete career programme.
The newly formed body has also announced a mentorship programme for the young athletes which will guide them during their formative years and shape their future. They would also be extending legal advice to the Olympians as well as work in tandem with the IOC Athlete Career programme.
The Minister of Information & Broadcasting and 2004 Athens Games silver medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who was present at the event and launched the official OAI website (https://www.indianolympians.in/), believed that it is a great initiative and will do wonders for the Indian Olympians.
Speaking on the occasion, he said, “It is an organisation which is formed by Olympians for the Olympians. The brains behind this great initiative are all very accomplished Olympians and a single platform like this to join all the Olympians around the country is a huge step towards sports in this country.”
The first President of the newly formed association, Shiva Keshavan in a tweet said: “Thrilled to announce the launch of the Olympians Association of India. Honoured to serve as the 1st President.” (See more articles featuring Shiva here)
Another founder member and the CEO of the Olympic Gold Quest, Viren Rasquinha tweeted: “Delighted at the launch of @IndianOlympians. #OAILaunch. Much needed effort to represent Olympians in India and boost the Olympic movement”