Mumbai, Jan 17 (IBNS) Superstar and Brand Ambassador Shah Rukh Khan launched the first ever 'Toyota University Cricket Championship (TUCC)', supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and NDTV at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai on Thursday.
This new campaign, to encourage cricket at the university level, aims at discovering, nurturing and promoting young hopefuls and providing national exposure to extraordinary sporting talent. As the slogan of the TUCC states, 'Ab Humari Baari Hai'.
While Sandeep Singh, DMD & COO - Marketing & Commercial, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Shah Rukh Khan joined Dr Prannoy Roy, Chairperson, NDTV and Vikram Chandra, CEO NDTV Group to announce the start of the 'championship', HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju and Minister of State, HRD, Shashi Tharoor lent their support from New Delhi via satellite.
Also giving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) blessings to this initiative was BCCI President N Srinivasan.
The championship aims to revive the spirit of education with sports. It is a platform for aspiring young cricketing talent to prove their mettle and stand tall in front of the nation. A first of its kind, this Championship will provide quality live programming to college students from across the country.
Addressing the audience, Pallam Raju said: "I am happy that the HRD Ministry is a part of this great initiative. Sports is an essential requirement in the process of development ... Am sure we can reach international levels with this good beginning.
"This will help identify talent that can contribute to both the national and international levels... I hope the passion that Shah Rukh Khan has shown he puts in his involvement in this. University sports strengthens ties between Alumni and their colleges and I hope it will have the same effect in branding university sports."
Speaking on the occasion, Prannoy Roy said "NDTV has always supported education and sports through several very successful campaigns. Taking a big step forward, we are very pleased to announce the Toyota University Cricket Championship as a platform to nurture young talent in the field of cricket and help discover the next generation's cricketing heroes.
"We look to everyone to support and boost university cricket in India."
On being introduced as Brand Ambassador, Shah Rukh Khan, said, "Everything I am today I learnt through sports. We need to promote sports and start at grass root levels. This in one of the finest initiatives and any aspect that I can be a part of I will do."
Saying that he was "thrilled to be personally involved" he carried on to say that he was a "big believer that sports of all kinds should be backed by big businesses".
He also said that being appreciated as a sportsperson goads everyone to do better in all aspects of life and that the wins and losses in sports teaches young people to value their struggles in life.
Adding that he hoped there would be a time when parents encouraged their children to choose a career to become professional sportspersons, he said "I can't wait for the day when kids can say I want to be a professional sportsman"
The TUCC is an extension of the Rohinton Baria Tournament and the Championship matches will begin in 2013.
The top eight teams from Rohinton Baria will sweat it out, playing at various University grounds and International stadiums in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore among other cities.
The participating teams for the 2013 Championship that have been selected from the 4 regional zones are - Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Awadhesh Pratap Singh University, Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, Mumbai University, Jiwaji University, University of Madras and Jain University.
The teams for this Championship have been selected through the Rohinton Baria Tournament, which involves participation from more than two hundred Universities and twenty lakh students across the country. Some matches will also be followed by a carnival with musical performances, great food and engaging on-ground contests.
Speaking at the launch, SN Puri, President of the Association of Indian Universities, said, "The Rohinton Baria tournament was losing its shine. This new format of less overs is becoming popular so young people should come forward from their college days. To attract the young we thought we should look at this new format and you came forward. I am sure that with the strong support of the Ministry of HRD and the BCCI it will do well."