Akshay Kumar has a black belt in Taekwondo. He’s also studied martial arts in Bangkok and followed it up with Muay Thai lessons. It’s no wonder then that the actor started his own martial arts tournament a few years ago.
Now, as the Akshay Kumar International Invitational Judo-Karate Championship enters its fourth year, we’ve heard that he’s investing even more time and money into this venture — the latter being pegged at a reported Rs 3 crore.
“The championship is very close to Akshay’s heart. Since he started his career with karate and martial arts, he doesn’t mind spending the money if he has the wherewithal to do it. Also, in a country where the entire focus is on cricket, this is his way of popularising karate and giving people from the hinterlands a big opportunity. Last year, he spent around Rs 2 crore, but since the tournament has become bigger now, the expenditure has gone up to Rs 3 crore,” says an insider, adding, “Akshay will personally attend the tournament. He has already taken out time from his schedule.”
The tournament is to be held from November 7-10 at Andheri Sports Complex, with 5,800 participants (there were 4,300 last year), 400 referees and 8-10 rings.
“The prize money has also been increased from Rs18-20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh,” claims the insider. Like the previous years, accommodation, food and participation are free for all athletes, including those from countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, UAE and Japan. When contacted, Akshay remained unavailable for a comment.