Events like Commonwealth Games have given rise to sport in India : Arjun Kapoor

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Bollywood superstar Arjun Kapoor attended Longines Record Club at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast 2018), showing his support for the Indian team.

Kapoor said the power of sporting events such as Gold Coast 2018 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,”

“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.  “But, India still lacks a sporting community beyond cricket.” Kapoor said.

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. The scheme 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 on Wednesday, before the 220 athletes went into the Opening Ceremony at Carrara Stadium, led by flag bearer and badminton hero PV Sindhu.

Modi said the Commonwealth Games are a great opportunity to showcase the diverse talent of Indian sportspeople. 

Kapoor hopes to watch hockey events

Passionate about the power of sport to unite a rising India, Arjun Kapoor is an avid football supporter and became a co-owner of Pune FC in the the Indian Super League (ISL) in October 2017.  He has also acted in a film about Kabbadi.

He is looking forward to watching some hockey,  India’s national sport, and will be cheering the Indian Men’s team when they face England on Wednesday April 11. A large Indian crowd is expected including Gold Coast 2018 Multicultural Community Ambassadors.

Kapoor was invited to Australia as a Special Guest of Longines who have an impressive list of Global Brand Ambassadors, including Bollywood Actress Aishwarya Rai.

Longines is the Official Timekeeper of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and Official Partner of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Longines is also the Presenting Partner of Athletics (Track & Field), Gymnastics, Rugby Sevens and Table Tennis.

Kapoor hopes to see more of Australia

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.  He has enjoyed engaging with members of the 700,000+ Indian Australian diaspora, was complimentary of the hard work of Indian migrants in Australia and playfully encouraged them to watch more Indian films.

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.

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