Bridgestone India, a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading tyre and rubber companies, has announced partnerships with new members of ‘Team Bridgestone’ under its global Olympic partnership. The team comprises Olympians and ace athletes like Mary Kom (boxing), Sakshi Malik (freestyle wrestling), Lalita Babar (long-distance running), and Srikanth Kidambi (badminton).
The company also announced that this group will join Bridgestone India’s first Olympics brand ambassador PV Sindhu as a part of its global roster of more than 50 athletes on ‘Team Bridgestone’.
Speaking about the collaboration, Parag Satpute, managing director, Bridgestone India, said, “It is an extremely proud moment for Bridgestone India to join hands with a team of such talented individuals who have excelled in their respective fields with perseverance, hard work and integrity, values which resonate the ethos and beliefs of Bridgestone. These athletes will be a part of Team Bridgestone, of which P V Sindhu is also a member since August 2017. This union is aimed at making one realise their true potential and have the courage to ‘Chase Your Dream’.”
Bridgestone which announced its worldwide Olympic Partnership in 2014, by making a long-term commitment to the International Olympic Committee (IoC).
Speaking to Autocar Professional, Vaibhav Saraf, chief general manager, Bridgestone India, said: “When we partnered the Olympic games, this program was only available in four countries – Japan, USA, Brazil and Korea. In 2017 the program was extended to all countries (150+) where Bridgestone is present in one or the other form.”
Mary Kom is a five-time world boxing champion, an achievement that defines her as one of the best women boxers across the world. She was the only Indian woman boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games London 2012, where she earned a bronze for the country. Mary was inspired to make a career in boxing after the win of Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh in 1998. She has been awarded with Padma Bhushan (2013), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2009) Padma Shri (2006), and Arjuna Award (2003).
Sakshi Malik is the first female wrestler in India to win a medal (bronze) at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Sakshi’s grandfather, who was also a wrestler, inspired her to take up the sport and she began training since the young age of 12. She won her first bronze medal at the Junior World Championship (2010) in the 58kg freestyle event. She qualified for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 by defeating China’s Zhang Lan, and went on to win a bronze medal at the event with a masterful victory of 8-5 against Aisuluu Tynybekova from Kyrgyzstan. Currently employed in the Indian railways, Sakshi was promoted to Gazetted Officer rank for her victory in Rio 2016.
Lalita Babar is the current Indian national record holder in 3,000 metre steeplechase, hailing from Satara, Maharashtra, which has been often affected with droughts and lacked adequate infrastructure. Lalita travelled long distances on foot and later motivated her to mould her strength into professional athletics. She won her first gold medal at the age of 17, in the U-20 National Championship in 2005. During the 2015 Asian Championships, she simultaneously broke her personal record, Indian record and the game record with a timing of 9:34.13. She is the recipient of Sports person of the Year Award (2015), an honour extended by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India.
Srikanth Kidambi is the first Indian badminton player to win a Super Series Premier Men’s title (2014). He currently holds the No 3 spot in world rankings. He started his professional career by winning 2 medals at the Commonwealth Games. In 2015, Srikanth won gold at the Swiss Open Grand prix Gold by defeating Viktor Axelsen 21-15, 12-21, 21-14 and became the first Indian male player to have won a gold at the event. Currently hailed as the best male badminton player of the country, Srikanth was awarded with a Padma Shri in 2018.
Commenting on her partnership with Bridgestone India, Mary Kom said, “Bridgestone, a brand that people trust, has placed its faith in me, to let the youth of our country know that it is possible to realise one’s true potential if one decides never to give up. I feel honoured to be part of a team which has people, who are not only exceptional athletes, but also inspiring individuals with a great zeal to overcome challenges and persevere.”
The national record holding runner, Lalita Babar said, “Through my journey with Bridgestone, I want the youth of our nation to know, that opportunities can be found anywhere, if you are willing to be dedicated and work hard for success.”
As the first brand ambassador of Bridgestone India, star athlete P V Sindhu said, “The new additions to ‘Team Bridgestone’ are an extension of their commitment to make their Olympic movement in the nation worthwhile. I am happy to see that brilliant athletes from various sports and various parts of our country have come forward on this platform, and are talking about their journey.”
Highlighting the importance of raising awareness about Olympic Games in the country, freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik said, “Olympic Games in India is currently undergoing transition. As more people become acquainted to this platform and understand it, the more positively they welcome it. The biggest challenge for any aspirant in the country is that people are not aware of the immense opportunities this platform provides, and thus, a lot of dreams go unfulfilled. In such scenario, the importance of Bridgestone coming forward to support these dreams becomes vital.”
Badminton ace Srikanth Kidambi mentioned, “Throughout the journey, I always had the support of family, friends, coaches and my dear countrymen. And I can say this with conviction that support is immensely powerful. It fuels passion, provides faith and gives Courage to ‘Chase your dreams’. I thank Bridgestone, for believing in the cause of sports and supporting this spirit.”
The Olympic Games are the biggest international sports platform providing a stage to numerous athletes to showcase their athletic skills. Bridgestone, one of the 13 worldwide Olympic partners, aims to promote and highlight these athletes. The company says these athletes have been chosen for their relentless pursuit of success, hard work and perseverance; the key qualities which identify with Bridgestone’s ‘Chase your Dream’ manifesto.
Bridgestone is focused on leveraging the goodwill of these ambassadors to connect with the masses while being a partner to their journey in Olympic Games. Bridgestone has planned an integrated approach involving customers, dealers and employees as the three pillars to scale up the union.