IOA ropes in Amul for Rio sponsorship

Keeping in tune with the enhanced contingent for the Rio Olympics, which has crossed 100 athletes and is tipped to reach around 115, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has tapped sponsorship to the tune of about Rs. 10 crore so far.

R. S. Sodhi (left), Managing Director, Amul, and Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, Indian Olympic Association, at a press conference, in New Delhi on Wednesday.   -  Ramesh Sharma

Keeping in tune with the enhanced contingent for the Rio Olympics, which has crossed 100 athletes and is tipped to reach around 115, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has tapped sponsorship to the tune of about Rs. 10 crore so far.

Making the announcement at a press conference to highlight the sponsorship by Asia’s largest milk brand, Amul, the secretary general of IOA, Rajeev Mehta, said on Wednesday that four sponsors had come on board for supporting the Indian contingent for the Olympics. He was expecting more over the next few days.

Expressing happiness about the continuation of association with the Indian athletes, that started with the London Olympics in 2012, Managing Director of Amul, R. S. Sodhi pointed out that the brand was keen to support sports. “We do not come under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as we are a cooperative society. So, we have to use the advertisement budget,” Sodhi said, even as he stressed the fact that the brand was owned by 36 lakh farmers.

Thus, Amul will have a series of campaigns, including “eat milk with every meal,” to cheer the Indian team. Meanwhile, the IOA secretary general was optimistic that the Indian contingent would be able to return with about 12 to 15 medals from the Rio Games.

He was also categorical that the IOA would appoint another deputy Chef de mission, in case the strength of the contingent reached 120. Rakesh Gupta and Anandeshwar Pandey will be the Chef de mission and Deputy Chef de mission respectively.

Rajeev Mehta also stressed that the IOA would not interfere with the rights of the national federations towards selecting athletes for the Olympics. Equally, he declared that film star Salman Khan would continue to be the Goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent for the Rio Games, despite the confusion and controversy surrounding him.

On his part, Rakesh Gupta clarified that all efforts were being made to ensure the availability of Indian food for the contingent at the Games Village. He said that communication was on both with the organisers as well as the Indian Embassy in Brazil. “We have written to the organising committee, and they have assured that there would be sufficient Indian food on the menu,” said Rakesh Gupta.

As far as the threat of Zika virus and other mosquito borne diseases was concerned, it was said that a health advisory had been circulated among the athletes along with a list of contents approved for the anti-mosquito cream etc.