Polish sportswear firm is Olympic winner after partnering with Eight countries
A Polish sportswear firm has become an unsung winner of the Tokyo Olympics after it was revealed to have been the official partner to more countries than nearly any other brand.
While Italy wore Armani and America wore Ralph Lauren and Nike attire, 4F started by Kielce businessman Igor Klaja was worn by Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia.
Among the star athletes seen in the 4F Olympic apparel were tennis player Novak Djokovic, gold medal winners Matea Jelić and Milica Mandić who both won in their respective weight divisions in taekwondo, and Jovana Preković who won a gold in karate.
Others included Polish hammer throwers Anita Włodarczyk and Wojciech Nowicki, women’s trap shooting champion Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková, brothers Martin and Valent Sinković who came first in the men’s coxless pairs rowing, Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić who aced the men’s doubles tennis.
Meanwhile, Stefanos Ntouskos, Miltiadis Tentoglou and Dawid Tomala all stood atop the podium in 4F gear as well as the Latvian men’s 3x3 basketball team, Poland’s 4x400 meters mixed relay team and Serbia’s men’s water polo team.
Only the Spanish brand Joma had more official partnerships.
Starting its life in 2003, the brand which is under the umbrella group OTCF, now operates over 200 stores in over 40 countries.
Klaja, who was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2020 by Ernst and Young in Poland, told online portal YPO: “In the Olympic family, we have built a strong reputation and now support 3,000 athletes and representatives with customized collections based on their needs.
“We also work with professional football and volleyball players, associating ourselves with these champions and heroes to build awareness, credibility and engagement, while confirming the DNA of the company in sports.”
A passionate sportsman in his youth, Klaja started working as a distributor for other brands, before creating his first sportswear brand ‘Outhorn’ in 2003, whose products he sold through national supermarket chains.
In 2007 he opened his own shop, basing his maiden venture in the city of his birth Kielce.
After only a year the brand was working with the Polish Olympic Committee and by 2010 they were the official apparel provider for the Winter Olympics.
Since then it has been the provider for the national athletics team in both winter and summer Olympics and is a leading manufacturer and distributor of sports clothing, supplying Olympic teams and sports associations across Europe.
But despite this success, the 45-year-old says things can only get better. He told YPO: “The next step is more European and worldwide expansion. We are still not global players.
“As I tell my team, I strongly believe we can achieve anything with patience, focus and determination.
“You may lose the first half of a match but can still win the game.”