Tata in sports

Tata's commitment to helping India find a place in the sporting sun has spawned academies for different sports and support for numerous talented sportspeople

History
The Tata group has been committed to development of sports and promoting sportspersons for over three-quarters of a century. This has spawned academies for different sports, sponsorships of events and individuals, and support for numerous talented sportspeople.

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Sport has always been an integral part of the Tata way of life. Jamsetji Tata, the group's founder, was an enthusiast and patron of cricket and cricketers. Sir Dorab Tata, his son, was a Cambridge blue at cricket and a founding member of the Willingdon Club in Mumbai. Sir Dorab sponsored the Indian contingent for the Antwerp Olympics in 1920 and, as president of the Indian Olympic Council, financed the Indian squad that went to the Paris Olympics in 1924.

Naval Tata headed the Indian Hockey Federation during what has come to be known as the golden age of the game in the country. This was the period during which India won three successive Olympic gold medals, beginning with London in 1948. A passionate sports lover, Naval Tata also served on the International Hockey Federation and steered the All India Council for Sports during its infancy.

It was sporting allegiance to the cause of Indian sport that led to the setting up of the Tata Sports Club in 1937 to encourage sports and sportspeople within and outside the group. The club's endeavours have been directed at spotting and then developing potential, at providing an early platform for those who deserve no less.

Present
There are three clear components to the Tata patronage of Indian sports now:

  • Some Tata companies, notably Tata Steel and Tata Power, co-fund sports infrastructure and institutions, while supporting individual sportspeople by employing them.
  • The Mumbai-based Tata Sports Club is involved in a variety of sports and in providing assistance to sportspeople.
  • Lastly, the Tata group sponsors and organises special events, and also sponsors outstanding sports personalities.

Areas and achievements
The group is associated with diverse sports ranging from cricket, football, hockey, badminton, billiards, chess, boxing, cycling, athletics, swimming, mountaineering and motor racing, among others. From supporting mainstream sporting disciplines to preserving centuries-old tribal sports across states such as Odisha and Jharkhand, the group has historically endeavoured to improve the quality of lives of communities it serves.

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Over the years, these initiatives have helped produce 5 Olympic Games winners, 6 World Championship winners, 36 Asian Games winners, 33 Asian Championship winners, 4 Commonwealth Games winners, 6 Commonwealth Championship winners, 11 Padmashrees, 41 Arjuna awardees, 4 Dronacharya awardees and 1 Padma Bhushan, speaking volumes of the commitment of Tatas to Indian sport. Some of them are Leo Pinto (boxing), RS Gentle (hockey), Eddie Sequeira (athletics), TM Verghese (football), Cawas Billimoria (judo), Michael Ferreira (billiards), Geet Sethi (billiards), Dilip Vengsarkar (cricket), Ravi Shastri (cricket), Kiran More (cricket), Sourav Ganguly (cricket), Ajit Agarkar (cricket), Jayant Talukdar (archery), Poornima Mahato (archery), Premlata Agarwal (archery), Deepika Kumari (archery), Dola Bannerjee (archery) and Limba Ram (archery), to name just a few.

Facilities
To formally train budding talent, the group also runs three dedicated sports academies for football, archery and mountaineering, each supported by a network of feeder centres that help identify emerging talent from across the country.

  • The Tata Football Academy, set up in Jamshedpur in 1987, selects boys of 14 and under and trains them for a four-year period in world-class facilities. A total of 147 cadets up until 2013 have passed out from the academy and have turned out to be professional football players.
  • The Tata Archery Academy, established in Jamshedpur in 1996, has produced illustrious archers who have gone on to win national and international honours.
  • The Tata Adventure Foundation set up in 1984, headed by Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, has rock climbing, river rafting and parasailing on its alternate sports agenda. The Adventure Foundation has so far provided training, mentoring and financial support for five expeditions to Mt Everest along with numerous other expeditions across the continent.

These academies are further supported through dedicated sports infrastructure such as a JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur, a 40,000-capacity arena with facilities for athletics, archery, boxing, basketball, volleyball, boxing, tennis and more followed by the Keenan Stadium, a 22,000 capacity stadium, which is a regular venue for international cricket in Jamshedpur.

Sporting events and support to sports personalities
The Tata group promotes various forms of sports by organising and sponsoring national and international competitions, and supporting outstanding sports personalities. Some such national and international events are:

  • Tata Open India International Challenge, an international badminton tournament organised in association with the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA), with prize money of $15,000.
  • Tata National Ranking Archery Tournament, an annual event where top archers from across the country compete for the top ranks in archery. The event is jointly sponsored by Tata Sons and Tata Steel, and is organised in association with the Archery Association of India.
  • Tata Open Golf Tournament, one of the most prestigious golf events in India for professional golfers.
  • 6th Karate-do Gojukai World Championship & Congress 2013, which took place for the first time in India, last year, hosting 1000 participants from 32 countries across the globe.
  • Narain Karthikeyan, the fastest Indian on wheels and India’s first F1 driver.
  • Tata Steel Chess tournament, a prestigious tournament that witnesses participation from the world's best chess players.
  • TCS New York City Marathon, world's biggest and most popular marathon that brings together runners from around the world. Beginning in 2014, TCS is the title sponsor of the New York City Marathon.
  • Tata Kids of Steel, a British triathlon, aimed at engaging schools and giving students the opportunity to have fun combining the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running.
  • T1 Prima Truck Racing Championship, organised by Tata Motors, is India's first-ever truck racing championship.
  • Starting in 2012, Tata Communications is the technology supplier of Formula 1™, delivering world-class connectivity to all 20 Formula One race locations.

 

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