Take to sports in earnest, Vijay appeals to youth

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Chennai, Jul 31 (UNI) Tennis maestro Vijay Amritraj today said the 'mantra' for more Indian sportspersons, who had the talent to win honours in international arena, was to emulate the philosophy of their counterparts from the West to think ''winning is a must''.

''We only seem to believe that participation is everything. But even though the instinct to participate is important, it is also important to win, not just participate,'' he said, launching the registration drive for Marg Chennai Marathon for GiveLife project on August 31, being organised by an NGO 'Tamil Maiyam' to raise funds for the rehabilitation of 13,600 underprivileged children it has taken under its care.

Vijay also exhorted children in India to take to sports full time and with earnestness. ''From 1500 hrs to 1800 hrs in the evenings, every child has to be kicking a football, play badminton or squash.

You should not be playing video games or be on your cell phone as children are doing these days,'' he observed amidst applause from the gathering.

Pointing to India's squash stars Joshna Chinnappa and Deepika Pallikal, who also signed up to run in the marathon, he said the two young sportspersons who have been progressing rapidly in the world stage in squash, were the best role models for the children.

The Chennai marathon would be sponsored by Marg Group with a prize money of Rs ten lakh, Rs five lakh and Rs three lakh each for both men and women's sections. If an athlete from Tamil Nadu happened to win, a bonus of Rs three lakh would be paid.

Besides raising funds for charity, the run was to inspire youth to take to sports as a profession. ''That's why we are keeping the prize money high,'' 'Tamil Maiyam' Founder Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj said.

Several international sportspersons from Tamil Nadu, including former hockey captain Md Riaz, volleyball star Natarajan, athletes R Gnanasekaran, R Nataraj, Thirugnanadurai and A Arvind would participate in the marathon, he said.

UNI VV GD PY KN1931

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