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Karate chop

entertainment Updated: Oct 30, 2010 18:41 IST
Hiren Kotwani

Even after a successful start last year, Akshay Kumar didn’t anticipate the huge response his karate tournament would garner in its second edition, which started at Andheri Sports Complex on Thursday.

“We started this tournament with the humble initiative of providing underprivileged karate students the chance to participate and train with the best in the world without having to worry about the cost,” said the actor, adding, “I’m very overwhelmed with the response the championship has received, over 53,000 applications in 15 days is a huge number.”

Addressing the gathering, Kumar said, “I thank all the parents for supporting their children’s interest in Karate.” Down to earth despite his superstar status, Kumar was also thankful to his tournament’s Chief Technical Director Mehul Vora, who also teaches martial arts to the actor’s son Aarav.

Elaborating on the response, Vora reveals that their website crashed thrice. “With 4500 fighters participating, this is India’s largest martial arts event,” enthuses Vora.

Interestingly, this is also the first time in the country that the draws booked were uploaded on the website. “So even those participants who came from small towns and villages, knew all the exact details about their fights,” informs Vora. Kumar and Vora have already chalked out a grand finale. “Different forms of martial arts will be presented at the closing ceremony on Sunday, apart from distribution of prizes,” informs Vora.

The winners of the first edition of Kumar’s tournament were sent as a team to Japan for the International Karate Champtionship earlier this year. “We won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals in Japan,” asserts Vora.