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Hero comes on board as title sponsor of Olympics' hockey qualifiers

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MUMBAI: Two-wheeler major Hero MotoCorp Ltd (formerly Hero Honda) has renewed its commitment towards national sport Hockey by coming on board as the title sponsor of the upcoming men?s and women?s Olympic qualifying tournament for 2012 London Olympics.

The deal was brokered by Commune Sports & Entertainmen, the commercial representative of FIH in India.

Titled as ?Hero FIH Road to London?, the event is first of the three leg Olympic qualifying events for the London Olympic Games scheduled for July this year and will be played at Major Dhyan Chand Hockey National Stadium in New Delhi from February 18-26.

The event will feature six teams from both men?s and women?s category competing against each other in a round robin format for two Olympic berths out of the six berths available (1 of 3 men?s and 1 of 3 women?s) in the 2012 London Olympics.

The tournament holds great importance for the Indian men?s and women?s hockey team as this will be their only window to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Following the round robin league, the teams ranked first and second will play and the winner will qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games, while the remaining four teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points.

Commenting on the partnership, Hero MotoCorp MD & CEO Pawan Munjal said, "Hockey, being the national sport of the country, holds a special place in our hearts and we are pleased to partner with FIH in presenting the ?Hero FIH Road to London? Olympic Hockey Qualifiers. We have always believed in nurturing and supporting various sporting disciplines including cricket, golf, shooting and hockey."

The India leg of the Hero FIH Road to London Olympic qualifiers will feature the men?s national field hockey teams from India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France. The Indian National women?s hockey team will play against South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine.

The tournament will be aired on Ten Sports.

In 2010, Hero MotoCorp started its partnership with FIH, by bringing the coveted men?s hockey World Cup event to India, titled ?Hero Honda FIH Men?s Hockey World Cup 2010?. The company executed a multi media campaign, ?Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko? featuring Hero brand ambassadors ? cricketer Virender Sehwag, Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and popular Hindi movie actor Priyanka Chopra.

Further aligning with the company?s objective of long-term promotion of the game at the grassroots level, Hero MotoCorp also organised pan-India inter-school hockey tournaments.

Speaking on the partnership, FIH partnership Leandro Negre said, ?Hero are ideal partners for hockey and FIH in that they really help us promote the event and hockey in India. Their promotion for the FIH Hockey World Cup in 2010 was fundamental in leading to a renaissance of hockey enthusiasm in India and we hope that the Hero FIH Road to London will build on that.?

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