Ace athlete and Olympic gold-medalist Neeraj Chopra feels the corporate India should support ground-level sports as much as they do the top sportspersons. The 24-years old champion javelin thrower is also encouraged by the support and attention athletics is getting in recent times.
The Indian Army personnel grabbed attention of a billion audience, when he won his maiden Olympics gold in 2020 at Tokyo in the track and field event. Chopra has since went on to secure a silver medal in World Championships in 2022 in Javelin Throw.
According to him, the support that corporates are extending ahead of the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, scheduled for 2024, for the top athletes is good. “See, the more support sportspersons get is better. At the same time, I feel, apart from the top league sportspersons - playing at the national or international levels - we should also think about (supporting) to the beginner and ground level athletes. If all types of sportspersons get support, then our nation can go far in sports,” said Chopra.
“The [Tokyo] Olympics [in 2020] has attracted Indians’ attention towards such sports. Performance of our athletes in the last Olympics was very well and so was in Para-Olympics and in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games [in Birmingham]. Not just my [gold] medal, but better performance by all athletes have helped India’s progress in Olympic Games,” he added.
While, India’s performance in cricket has been impressive over the years, Chopra points out that with the improvement in the performance in athletics, it has had a domino effect on other sports too.
“But as we are performing well in other sports, it is benefitting these sports now. The others sports are finally getting the limelight and attention,” the Olympian said in the sidelines of an event.
Given Chopra’s appeal to the youth and aspiring athletes, beverages major Coca-Cola India has roped him in to endorse its newly launched Limca Sportz - an energising drink in the sports hydration category.
According to Arnab Roy, vice president and head of marketing at Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, the company is planning to leverage the Limca brand in sports that is the oldest brand in its India portfolio. Apart from making it the Title Sponsor for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, Coke wants to keep it at the forefront in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, if that takes place in India.
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