The Indian hockey team got a boost ahead of the International hockey federation (FIH) World League's second round starting February 18. Energy resource exploration giants Cairn India have signed up to co-sponsor the men's and the women's teams.
The Rs 7 crore per annum deal signed by the oil and gas exploration company is a three-year commitment to develop and popularize the national sport and will also include the junior teams in the country.
Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, Sunil Bharati of Cairn India said that the emphasis is on helping Indian hockey regain its glory in the sport.
"We are proud to be associated with Indian hockey. Although we are co-sponsors, we will fully commit ourselves towards taking the sport where it was earlier. Hockey is an amazing sport and we will be further fuelling it," said Bharati.
Hockey India's Narinder Batra also welcomed the deal and said that hockey is on the fast-track towards resurgence. "This association will further boost the game and help the sport reach new levels," he said.
Indian hockey has been receiving long-awaited attention and recently signed major deals with Hero MotoCorp and a broadcast deal with STAR India for its successful League championship. Sahara too has been an active sponsor and Batra said that it is heartening to see that "giants of Indian industry are looking towards promoting the sport."
After finishing last among 12 teams in the London Olympics 2012, India have a long way to go to salvage pride. This financial boost may have come at the right time.