Approvals are important, but after the game, says Hima Das

NEW DELHI: Hima Das, the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a world championship in all age groups, is fond of brand confirmations and wants to be associated with companies on condition that they have no influence on her training.

"Sport is my first priority, because it gave me everything," Das ETin told an interview, a few minutes before sportswear manufacturer Adidas called her brand ambassador on Tuesday. "If there is training, I will only concentrate on training, and brand associations are important, but after the game," she said.

The 18-year-old sprinter from Assam made history when she won the gold medal in the women's 400-meter event at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Finland in July this year.

She has signed a three-year contract with Adidas for an undisclosed amount. Last month she signed a comprehensive two-year agreement with sports management agency IOS. Das is also a brand ambassador for her home state.

"Corporates help promote sport," she said. "When brands advertise with sports players, it inspires people to be part of and exercise."

Das said she is closely involved with her agency in choosing the brands she endorses. Daughter of a rice farmer, she said she would not approve brands that are unhealthy. She expressed the confidence that athletes will delight the cricket players and attract brand awareness.

"From Commonwealth Games I feel that all other sports are now also being supported," she said.

Das does not think about entering a company soon. "My focus is on training and championships," she said. "I will look at things after my retirement … maybe 20 years later."

Das is hopeful that India will eventually become a major force in the world of sports. "India is slowly coming into play, India will create great news in sports and medals – which I'm sure of," she said.

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