Its part of our culture to promote our sportspersons even as we strengthen grassroots infrastructure: Hardeep S Puri

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Congratulating the Indian Contingent for Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas said, “the Olympics are the pinnacle of human achievement. To all the champion athletes here who have qualified for the 2024 edition, I say, on behalf of 1.4 billion Indians, congratulations and the best of luck! We couldn’t be prouder.”

Shri Puri was addressing the gathering at a ceremonial send-off organised by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) at the Ashoka Hotel here today. Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and Labour and Employment Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya and Indian Olympic Association President Dr. P.T. Usha, MP, were also present at the event.

Addressing the gathering Puri said, “There was a time when such events were organised with limited expectations. We were proud that our sportspersons were participating in the Olympics and hoped that our hockey teams would win a medal.  Once in a while, we had stalwarts like P T Usha ji who gave us a shot at other sports.” But now, he said, the expectations have been raised so high because of the recent successes we have had as a nation.

Referring to the support provided by Oil/Gas PSUs to the athletes, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri said, “I am glad to be here in my capacity as the patron of various oil and gas PSUs which are playing a valuable role in facilitating the best possible preparation for our athletes. It has been part of our culture to promote our sportspersons even as we strengthen grassroots infrastructure”, he said. He

“It is a matter of pride for us that 12 athletes sponsored by Indian Oil are participating in the Olympics this time. Another 5 are supported by ONGC”,  Shri Puri added. He said, “BPCL alone has supported more than 250 players. I am proud that BPCL’s partnership with the Indian Olympics Association will now be further deepened. In the four years up to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, BPCL will be the Principal Partner of the Indian contingent at the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Para Olympics Games.”

Paris 2024 Olympics bound Indian athletes were buoyant about their prospects at a ceremonial send-off. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, and Dr. P.T. Usha, MP  unveiled three kits of the Indian team. The kits, including the playing kit designed by JSW Inspire, the ceremonial dress designed by Tarun Tahiliani-owned TASVA and performance shoe and travel gear by PUMA were on show during a ramp-walk by the confident athletes.

Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya said all Indians celebrated the hard work, dedication, and unwavering spirit of the country’s athletes who have earned the honour of representing India on the biggest stage. “This event is not just about the unveiling of uniform and ceremonial dress but a symbol of the dreams and aspirations of billions of Indians who stand united behind the athletes,” he said.

“I am confident that this contingent will sustain India’s growth trajectory in sports. We saw a spurt from two medals in Rio 2016 to seven in Tokyo 2020 as India rose from 67th to 48th, helped in the main by Neeraj Chopra’s Javelin Throw gold medal. I am hoping that our athletes will take us even higher on the medal table this time,” he said.

In her welcome address, Dr. Usha said she had drawn on her experience as an athlete in ensuring that India’s athletes would not be short of sports science support in Paris 2024. “We have drawn up a very athlete-centric plan to support our athletes to perform at their peak in Paris,” she said.

“We have assembled a strong team under Dr. Dinshaw Pardiwala’s leadership. It includes sports medicine experts, wellness specialists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and a sleep scientist,” Dr. Usha said. “For the first time, IOA will also give a participation allowance to the athletes and the coaching and support staff. I am confident India will come back from Paris with its best showing in any Olympics.”

India will be sending a contingent of close to 120 athletes to the Olympics, including an Athletics team led by defending champion in the men’s javelin Neeraj Chopra, a 21-member Shooting team and a 16-member men’s Hockey team.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Reliance Foundation, Adani and Aditya Birla Capital are the principal sponsors for Team India at the Paris Olympics. Yes Bank has come on board as the Banking Partner while Dream Set Go and Herbal Life will be the official Travel Partner and Nutrition Partner respectively. EBCO, Borosil, AMUL and INOX Leisure are the associate partners. JSW Inspire are the official Sports Wear Partner while PUMA is the Sports Footwear Partner, TASVA is providing the ceremonial kits for the Indian Contingent. IOS Sports & Entertainment is the official Marketing Agency for Indian Olympic Association (IOA).