Swimmer - Srihari Nataraj
Tokyo-bound Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj, who along with Sajan Prakash have qualified with 'A' marks, has been signed up by PUMA for a sponsorship deal along with 17 other athletes. Image Credit: Supplied photo

Kolkata: As the jumbo Indian contingent is ready to take off for Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, they have already got a major thumbs up from corporate brands - both Indian and MNCs who have come on board as sponsors or partners.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced their tie-up with Sports For All (SFA) as the official partner of the Indian Olympic contingent for the Games on Friday in the latest of such associations - and unconfirmed reports say the interest level has been higher that of Rio five years back.

Founded in 2015, SFA has formulated a fully-integrated phygital (combination of online and on-ground) platform that enables on-ground competitions as well as sports education through technology. This helps identify, nurture and empower athletes across 30 disciplines with the right set of experiences and tools.


“We are very excited to have SFA as our official sports EdTech Partner. SFA, with its technology driven platform and mega-scale, on-ground multi-sport competitions at school and college level, will empower and enable our children and youth to pursue their best sporting potential and thereby, fuel India’s Olympic dreams,” said Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA said.

In the run-up to the Games, as many as nine brands had signed deals with IOA to come on board as sponsors for the Indian contingent - Edelweiss, INOX Group and Nippon Paint will be national sponsors while dairy brand Amul, Raymond (official styling partners) and JSW Group has come on board as partners.

MPL Sports Foundation, meanwhile, has come on board as principal sponsor in a lucrative deal that covers Olympics as well as the Asian and Commonwealth Games next year.

“Although the team has no kit sponsor this year but we have got support from JSW Group, Amul, Edelweiss, INOX, and MPL Foundation. As per the deals, promotions will be executed across social media platforms,” confirmed IOA president Narinder Batra.

Although the team has no kit sponsor this year but we have got support from JSW Group, Amul, Edelweiss, INOX, and MPL Foundation. As per the deals, promotions will be executed across social media platforms

- Narinder Batra, President of Indian Olympic Association

Timing their announcement with Olympics, sports apparel major PUMA has signed a whopping 18 Indian athletes who will represent the country in national and international events across sporting disciplines shooting, hockey, track and field, boxing, table tennis, discus throw and badminton.

In addition to boxing ace Mary Kom and sprinter Dutee Chand, the brand has signed on boxer Pooja Rani; track and field athlete Tejinder Singh; shooter Manu Bhaker; swimmer Srihari Nataraj; hockey players Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Savita Punia, Sushila Chanu, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Gurjit Kaur and Udita Duhan. The list also includes para-athletes like shooter Avani Lekhara; table tennis champion Bhavina Patel and discus throw athlete Ekta Bhayan.

“We are thrilled and honoured to sign some of the country’s finest athletes. As they continue to lead the way with their strength and athleticism, it’s equally important to work with them to break down barriers on the field of play,’’ said Abhishek Ganguly, Managing Director, PUMA India & Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, individual athletes being represented by sports management firms such as JSW Sports, have also signed deals with brands. JSW has signed eight deals so far for Bajrang Punia (nutrition brand On, ExxonMobil Lubricants, sports equipment brand ASICS and Coca Cola), javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (Gillette and ExxonMobil Lubricants) and wrestler Sakshi Malik (Bridgestone and ASICS).