August 2016 | Shalini Menon

Fuelling Olympic dreams

As the world's greatest sporting event takes place in Rio de Janeiro, we trace the Tata group's long history of supporting sports and sportspersons

Tata Steel manager and ace archer Deepika Kumari is a member of the Indian archery team for Rio Olympics

Once in four years, over 200 countries come together to celebrate the triumph of human spirit over the laws of physics as they strive to be faster, higher, stronger. It's Olympics time, and all eyes are on Rio de Janeiro, where over 11,000 sportspersons are participating in 42 sports disciplines.

The Tata group's support to the Olympics goes back almost a century: Sir Dorab Tata, the son of Founder Jamsetji Tata, sowed the seeds for India’s participation in the Olympics when he sponsored Indian sportspersons for the Antwerp Olympics in 1920 and the Paris Olympics in 1924. Over the years, the Tata group has supported sports in many ways – by building sports infrastructure and institutions, providing employment to sportsmen, and through sponsorship of sports personalities and events.

L-R: Wrestler Babita Kumari and boxer Shiv Thapa, members of the 2016 Indian Olympics team

There's a bit of Tata in this year's Olympics. Tata Steel manager and ace archer Deepika Kumari is a star of the Indian archery team for the Olympics. Two other archers Atanu Das and Laxmirani Manji are products of the Tata Archery Academy. Tata Steel has created a special campaign – 'We make Olympians, not just steel' – to highlight its contribution to the development of India’s Olympians since 1948.

Tata Chemicals continues the legacy with its sponsorship of the 120-member Indian Olympics contingent. The company’s 'Namak ke Waastey' campaign (translates as 'for the sake of our country') focuses on the stories of Indian athletes who have done India proud:

  • Shiva Thapa, the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the 2012 Olympics at the age of 19.
  • Babita Kumari, the young wrestler who won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
  • Avtar Singh, the judoka who bagged gold in the 2016 South Asian Games.

Other Tata companies such as Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDDL) have expressed support for India’s Olympic dreams. TPDDL launched a social media campaign, ‘Wish the Rio Stars’, to generate mass support for the Indian Olympic squad. 

The field of sports will rise to new levels at Rio as the games play out over 16 days from August 5-21 to celebrate brotherhood, competition, sportsmanship, goodwill and peace. And the world will cheer as one.

Source: Tata Central Archives