IPL attempt to create platform for youth in Indian sports: SRK

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (UNI) Bollywood hearthrob Shahrukh Khan today said his move to invest in the Indian Premier League for cricket was aimed at providing a platform to youngsters in the sporting arena in the country.

''I am passionate about sports be it cricket, hockey, football or badminton. So investing in IPL is for me a way to promote sports as a profitable career option for youngsters in the country today, not just a gamble,''Shahrukh told mediapersons at an event here to unveil a new campaign in his capacity as brand ambassador of the liquor brand 'Masterstroke'.

''For me, it will be great to change the lives of youngsters who need to go out and chownel their youthful aggression for good purposes rather than putting it to destructive use. I think sports is the best option for giving an outlet to the tremendous energy and enthusiasm that the youth possess,''Shahrukh said after unveiling a "Don't drink and drive campaign" by Dieageo Radico Distilleries private limited, a joint venture between Diageo and Radico Khaitan.

Shahrukh Khan last month won the rights to sponsor the Kolkata team in the IPL for 75.09 million dollars.

On choosing to put his money on cricket and not a lesser-known sport like hockey or football, Shahrukh, whose film 'Chak De India' about the triumph of an underdog Indian women hockey team against all odds, said,''to begin with, I wanted to put my money on a popular sport like cricket, which is followed like a religion in the country.'' Asked whether he did not think that investing in IPL was a gamble, in view of the disastrous performance by India in the T 20 international match against Australia yesterday, Shahrukh said,''frankly speaking, I can't afford to invest in IPL. But then, one cannot shy away from taking a good initiative thinking of it as a gamble.'' Talking about his love for sports, the Bollywood 'King Khan' said he would himself have been a sportman if he had not injured himself.

''I was a fairly good sportsman when I joined films. Infact, I started acting in Delhi because I injured myself and hence could not follow a cricket or Soccer career. My love for sports has now led me to train my children in different sporting disciplines,'' Shahrukh said.

The Bollywood superstar said putting his money in IPL was a way for him to put the money that he had earned over the years to good use rather than whitling it away in leisure activities.

''I feel that if God has given me so much money, instead of spending it on comforts, e.g, to buy a plane for myself, why not invest it in sports so that a career in sports no longer remains a gamble for youngsters in India,''he said.

Asked about the anthem or the logo of his IPL team, Shahrukh said,''nothing is decided as yet. A technical team will be doing all this for me. I do not have so much understanding of technical aspects.'' While stating that he had not looked at the business angle before investing in the league, Shahrukh said,''I am passionate about a lot of things and do not necessarily look at the business angle of them. The basic aim is to create a platform for youth in sports in India. However, I would want this league to earn a lot of money which can help us to create more platforms for youngsters.'' ''My principle is whether in a lifetime I can make a change for, say, 70 people by the time I am 70. For me it is important that I can change a few lives in my office and that of a few people who work with me,''Shahrukh said.

Speaking about the "Don't drink and Drive Campaign" that will have him featuring him in an ad as brand ambassador of Masterstroke, Shahrukh said,''the campaign intends to raise awareness about responsible drinking and encourage people to never drink and drive.'' UNI AR RR RN1955

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