Meet the Match

Indian Badminton Champion Believes in Power of Sport

Aparna Popat began her sports journey as a six-year-old sitting in front of an old TV watching the 1984 L.A. Olympic Games. Even though no one in her family participated in sport, Aparna dreamed of competing in the Olympics. However, she knew the road would be difficult. “In India, it’s a bit of a challenge when girls want to take up sport. Sport is frowned upon in many cases. But in my case, my family was very supportive. I was fortunate.”

Aparna’s love for sport continues today. Currently, she is the managing director of the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), the largest corporate sponsor of sporting activities in the country. The IOCL currently sponsors over 150 professional athletes across 19 different sports. Aparna is responsible for identifying talent, providing logistical support for exposure, recommending sports policies, and preparing the annual sports budget. Through this program, Aparna hopes to “bring sport out on a larger scale” and give girls the confidence they need “to find their feet in society.”

In addition to professional similarities between the IOCL and Saatchi & Saatchi in regards to corporate sponsorship, Aparna will be a fantastic contributor to the “Viva Women” campaign. Aparna has experienced sport at many different levels, including the Olympics, and is in a powerful position to make a difference in the lives of women and girls throughout India. We can’t wait to see the end result of this partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi. Viva Women!

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