When entries for the second Akshay Kumar Invitational Karate Tournament opened earlier this year, the website crashed due to a registration overload for the October event. However, there’s another reason why the actor has already got his team working on the website for the next year’s edition of the competition, which he first initiated in 2009.
“In 2011, apart from the national tournament, we will also have an international karate competition,” says Kumar, stating that the third edition will be bigger. “The winners of the first tournament went on to participate on the international level in Japan earlier this year and came back with one silver and three bronze medals. I’m confident that this year’s winners too will do us proud.” The dates and venue of the world championship are yet to be announced.Kumar concedes that when he started the tournament, the idea of gradually expanding it to invite contestants from over the world, was always on his mind. "After seeing this year’s success, we decided to widen our reach. So the gold, silver and bronze medal winners at the 2011 tournament will compete with fighters from South Asian countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan."
More so, it looks like next year’s tournament will not only overcome borders, but continents too. Renshi Mehul Vora, chief technical director of Kumar’s Invitational Karate Tournament says he has been getting inquires from the US and Europe too.
“Initially, we had only thought of inviting participants from South Asian countries. But now people from the US and Europe are also expressing an interest in participating… we can’t say no,” says Vora, adding, “But logistically, we may not be able to take the winners of our tournament to compete against international fighters in time. So Akshay and I felt that it would help to invite fighters from other countries to India and have our own tournament.”
So, after the 2011 National Karate Championship, the winners will stay back to fight the international karatekas. “The International Tournament will start after a couple of days’ break post the Nationals. I’m looking forward to hosting the international karatekas in Mumbai,” concludes Kumar.