In the age of social networking our sportspersons are finding innovative ways to raise funds. Yes, the government is doing its bit, but it may not be enough. In a first of its kind in India, luger Shiva Keshavan and his supporters Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) have gone online to raise funds — Rs 1 million in 60 days.
That is what India’s lone Winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan needs to go to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The luger, along with the non-profit OGQ, has set up a fundraiser on the crowdfunding website ketto.org and has already raised about `78,000 in just over two weeks.
“As I prepare for my fifth Winter Olympics, I envision India achieving results... Towards this vision, I am working to bring more medals for India. I cannot do this alone,” wrote the Manali-born athlete, born to a Malayalee father and an Italian mother, on the website.
Shiva, who is currently training in Austria, recently won the gold in the Asian Championships in Japan, setting a new Asian record in the process.
OGQ, which funded four of India’s six medal winning athletes in the 2010 London Olympics, is the brain behind the project and its chief operating officer Viren Rasquinha says Shiva may be the first of many athletes to be funded in this unique manner.
“This is a pilot project. Shiva has already received financial assistance from the govt and we have spent around Rs 10 lakh on his training so far. We are attempting to raise a further Rs 10 lakh so that he can have a proper sled and hire a full-time coach. We are exploring a new way of raising funds. Crowdfunding enables every Indian to support their athletes, in whatever small way they can. If we can raise enough funds, then this is a model that we will follow.”