Apollo – We Want to Do Something for Indian Tennis
Apollo Tyres continues to refute suggestions that the company is trying to control tennis in India. According to the Times of India, the company made this point clear on October 14 while stating again it would not give out details of spending on the ‘Mission 2018’ tennis project.
In September the All India Tennis Association (AITA) accused Apollo of launching a misleading advertising campaign, and it asked the company to be more ‘transparent’. The Association demanded information on how much Apollo had so far spent on the programme.
According to the Times of India, Neeraj Kanwar, Apollo Tyres vice chairman and joint managing director, said the company has invited the AITA to observe the work performed in their academies. “We have invited them to come and see the work we have done,” he said. “But we do not believe that we need to show our accounts. We are answerable to our shareholders, we are a public listed company and are transparent.”
The newspaper also quotes the tyremaker’s head of marketing, Sunam Sarkar, who said Apollo has no intention to rule Indian tennis. “Let me make it clear, this (Mission 2018) is in no-way related to running the sport in the country. That is not our objective. The objective is to provide facilities to kids who have it in them to become champions,” he stated.
“We are not creating any parallel league.” Kanwar added, “I am giving you an army of champions and it is for you (AITA) to select them or not….we really wanted to do something for the sport in the country.”
Mr. Kanwar said he was happy with the company’s efforts and said that instead of taking 10 children for training every year he had agreed to take 21 children in the first year. “We ran camps in five cities. I had given them a budget for 10 kids only. But after trials Mahesh (high profile Indian tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi) said ‘I can’t pick just ten, they all are good’. And now we have 21 kids training in Bangalore,” he said. “We want to spend 100 crore (£11.6 million) and the money is not going in for the tournament or sponsoring tournaments. It is only for training of kids and it will give me great satisfaction if, by 2018, we could have Indian players in top-100.”