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3 December 2000

OMEGA forges closer ties with India's heritage sport, polo

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Reaffirming its commitment to the rich cultural traditions of India, prestigious Swiss watchmaker Omega has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Polo Association to promote polo, a sport inherent in the country's cultural history.

The agreement was signed by the Omega brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan and His Highness Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh, Maharaja of Jaipur, MVC, the Officiating President of the Indian Polo Association, at a function organized at the President's Bodyguard Officers' Mess, in the presence of the illustrious royal families associated with polo as well as Omega officials.



Under the terms of the MoU, Omega will work together with the Indian Polo Association to provide an impetus to the game of polo. The brand will sponsor polo matches in the forthcoming year and will be involved in polo-related events with the IPA. Omega will be the official timekeeper and official watch for the sport in India for the next five years.



"For the last 152 years Omega's history has been interlinked with of some of the most significant moments in history, be they in the conquest of the sea, the air, or even outer space. Polo, too, has a strong legacy, with centuries of tradition and a spirit of distinction. We would like to associate ourselves more with this sport, which is an ideal complement to the excellence, precision, quality and beauty of our brand and its heritage," said Mr Stephen Urquhart, President of Omega.



"In the Indian Polo Association we have found an ideal partner. Like Omega, it too was born in the late 19th century and has since taken a special pride in upholding a very rich aspect of India's culture. Together, we hope to take the game of polo to new heights," he added.



HH Brig. Sawai Bhawani Singh, MVC, said "polo has always featured prominently in Indian history. Its association and patronage by royalty dates back to the Mughal era. Unfortunately, post World War II, with the mechanization of the cavalry, the sport faced a severe setback. The burden of reviving the game to its original glory fell on the shoulders of the Indian Polo Association. We are very proud of our efforts and of the success in having raised the profile of the game. The association with Omega is another step in this direction and we are confident this will take the game to even greater heights.



" As part of the celebrations, Omega honoured the royal houses and the Army of India, both of which have extended their support and patronage to the king of games, by presenting them with exclusive Omega watches. The watches were presented by Omega brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan to HH Maharaja Dr Karan Singh of Jammu & Kashmir, HH Maharaja Amarinder Singh of Patiala, Kr Lokendra Singh of Mewar, Kr Narendra Singh of Jaipur, HH Brig. Sawai Bhawani Singh, MVC, of Jaipur and the Chief Army Steward of the Indian Army.



Omega's association with sports dates back nearly a century. Having been official timekeeper to numerous sporting events since as early as 1905, the company was appointed official timekeeper of all Olympic games disciplines for the very first time in 1932, a privilege to be held twenty-one times over the next sixty years. In 1952 Omega received the Olympic Cross of Merit at the Helsinki Games for outstanding achievement in the world of sports. In 1967, the brand introduced its new "touch pads" timing system for swimming events, which reacted solely to the touch of the swimmers at each end of the pool and thus eradicated problems associated with water splashes. Omega is also the inventor of the giant video matrix scoreboards installed since 1982 in some of the world's most modern sports stadiums.



Since its arrival on the Indian market in 1997, Omega has made various contributions to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity and for the upkeep of "Jantar Mantar". In addition, OMEGA has working relationships with the National Institute of Fashion Technology, the National Institute of Design and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Asia's premier institute for management studies.



Omega has placed India high on its priority list and believes that its growth on the Asian sub-continent will be fuelled by an increased sales uptake in the Indian market. Omega watches have always been appreciated by Indian connoisseurs, who are attuned to global trends and have high expectations.

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