New Delhi: The Indian arm of German sports brand Adidas announced the appointment of Indian athlete Hima Das as its new brand ambassador on Tuesday.

Das shot into the limelight after becoming India’s first track and field gold medallist in the women’s 400m event at the World Under-20 Championships in Finland, followed by a silver medal at the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia.

“Hima is the biggest track and field athlete in India today. She was, in fact, wearing Adidas sprint spike shoes when she won the gold medal in Finland and we realised it was a great opportunity for us to join forces with her. Her amazing personality, perseverance and the drive to succeed embodies what Adidas stands for," said Sean Van Wyk, senior marketing director, Adidas India.

The 18-year old athlete from Assam joins a squad of young athletes and sportspersons which Adidas supports in India. Indian cricketers such as Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Manjot Kalra are part of the Adidas India family along with squash player Dipika Pallikal, tennis player Zeel Desai and Siddhant Banthia as well as boxer Nikhat Zareen.

Das will soon be appearing in an integrated multimedia advertising campaign for Adidas aimed at inspiring young athletes in the country.

“We will also be leveraging her presence in all our global campaigns across mediums which should be launched by the end of the year," added Wyk.

Noting that many of the brand’s associations and partnerships are focused on empowering youth in India, Dave Thomas, managing director at Adidas India, said, “As the leading sports brand in India it is important to encourage girls to take up sport and help them keep playing as they get older. Over the last couple of years, Hima and many other Indian women have emerged as torchbearers with their outstanding performances. Adidas is very keen to support India’s youth and to build a stronger sporting spirit and ambition in them."

According to celebrity managers, Das is estimated to receive annual endorsement fee between 10 and 15 lakh from Adidas along with racing and training brand merchandise.

IOS Sports and Entertainment, which manages Hima Das’s brand endorsements and off-field engagements, said that the young athlete is currently in talks with 10 to 12 brands across categories, including energy drinks and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI). Adidas is Das’s first endorsement deal.

“I think Adidas has invested in the potential of a young athlete which may bear fruit in the next few years. As for Hima Das, signing the first deal with a sports apparel category brand is a good way to start the endorsement journey. However, she will now have to perform at the highest level over and over again," said Indranil Das Blah, chief executive of entertainment marketing firm Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions.

Blah added that in terms of brand visibility, athletes are most visible during limited national and international tournaments. “Most of these do not even allow athletes to wear brand merchandise, which is the only drawback for a brand," he said.

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli was endorsing Adidas in India till last year when both the parties decided mutually to part ways. The cricketer now endorses Adidas’s competitor Puma.

Meanwhile, Bollywood celebrities continue to be a hot favourite among sports brands with actor Jacqueline Fernandes endorsing Puma while Kangana Ranaut is the face of Reebok in India.

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