Star discus thrower Krishna Poonia signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Hindustan Zinc Limited on Thursday.
She described the help from the corporate world as a big relief since it will help her prepare well for the Asian Games and other multi-discipline events in the next two years. It is the first sponsorship agreement with a private sector company for the Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Poonia signed the agreement with the Vedanta Group’s company in Udaipur, where the headquarters of Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) are located.
HZL CEO Akhilesh Joshi has promised to bear all her expenses, including overseas training.
“It’s a big day for me today and I am grateful to Vedanta’s Hindustan Zinc for coming forward and supporting me. It is a relief for me to know as I need not worry for my expenses for training for the next two years,” Poonia said.
“A monkey is off my back. I have been looking for help from the corporate sector for some time after winning the Commonwealth Games gold and it was not coming. This help will be crucial for me as I will be preparing for Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. The Olympics are also scheduled in 2016 and this deal will help me in my hunt for medals for my country,” she said.
In 2014, Asian Games will be held in Korea while Scotland will host the next edition of the CWG.
“An athlete needs financial security and that plays crucial role in the performance. Once the financial help is assured, the concentration in the sport is automatically enhanced and the focus also increased. I am today confident because I need not worry about my expenses while preparing for Asian, Commonwealth and Olympics Games,” she added.
Poonia will also be a part of the company's Social Responsibility campaigns, mainly in child-related issues and women empowerment in rural areas of Rajasthan.
Poonia will also endorse Vedanta Group’s most successful social media campaign – ‘KHUSHI’ and said that ‘KHUSHI’ was bringing awareness about care for the poor children in India and hope this campaign would bring a social change in India.
Now that her training expenses secured, Poonia said her focus would now be on the competitions ahead and her next target is to win gold in the Asian Athletics Championships in Chennai in July.
“I have already started training at NIS Patiala and my target now is to win gold in Asian Championships in front of home crowd. After that I will chalk out my plans about my participation in international competitions and training.”
Poonia has won three medals in Asian Championships – a bronze each in 2005, 2007 and 2009. She will face tough challenge from the Chinese who have been winning golds and silvers in the previous five editions.
She said, she will start her season with the three-leg Indian Grand Prix, starting March 31 in Panchkula.
“It's an important year with the World Championships also coming up in August in Moscow. Then next year there is Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. So this deal has come at the right time,” she said.
Poonia has won a bronze each in 2006 Asian Games in Doha and 2010 Guangzhou Games, and was a finalist at the 2012 London Olympics.