28 May Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor says major events have given rise to sport in India
Bollywood superstar Arjun Kapoor attended Longines Record Club at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) yesterday, showing his support for the Indian team.
Kapoor said the power of sporting events such as GC2018 and the rise in sports other than cricket in India has created a greater sense of community.
“It’s creating that feeling of rivalry, it brings the best out of people, it’s a nice energy to have and it brings people and the cities together,” Kapoor said.
“Sports are very important for me personally in feeling connected with others, it’s such a great conversation starter for somebody as socially bereft as me.”
With increasing participation in a more diverse range of sports, Kapoor believes there is more opportunities for younger aspiring athletes to play with teams and coaches who will help achieve their goals of competing on a national or international scale.
“I’m hoping that in all the sports you see at the Commonwealth Games in the coming years, you will have a lot more Indians representing our country.
“I think children now actually have the opportunity to dream bigger, which maybe didn’t exist when I was a kid.”
This new attitude has also been adopted in towns throughout India where lower profile sports were traditionally not available as options.
“Sport doesn’t see what region or what religion you’re from, it only sees your quality and that’s the best part about it,” Kapoor said.
But Kapoor also said India lacks a strong sporting community beyond cricket.
At a recent Delhi Sports Journalists Association event, discus thrower Krishna Poonia said participation levels across the country, particularly in younger sportspeople, still needs to increase if the nation is to see greater success.
Programs like the National Sports Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS) seek to identify and nurture talent in the age group of 8-12 years and is operated by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) under the Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his support for the Indian contingent, before the 220 athletes went into the Opening Ceremony at Carrara Stadium, led by flag bearer and badminton hero PV Sindhu.
Mr. Modi said the Commonwealth Games are a great opportunity to showcase the diverse talent of Indian sportspeople.
As a first-time visitor, Kapoor says Australia was one of his “bucket list destinations” to visit and is adamant he will be back to see more of the country.
Indian film culture is alive and well in Australia with Val Morgan reporting that there were over 1 million tickets purchased to Bollywood films in 2017, growing more than 30% from 2016.
Kapoor’s close friend, Bollywood Actress Parineeti Chopra, is a ‘Friends of Australia Global Ambassador’ for Tourism Australia.
A recent study by Red Elephant showed that 97% of Indians living in Australia had encouraged family and friends in India to visit, with greater than 50% travelling to Australia visiting friends and family (VFR).
The VFR spend by Indian travellers was estimated to be $212 million in 2017.