SRK launches NDTV’s Toyota University Cricket Championship

Dr. Pranay Roy_Shah Rukh KhanShah Rukh Khan on Thursday launched the Toyota University Cricket Championship (TUCC) at  the Taj Lands End in Mumbai.

The event has been jointly organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and NDTV .Shah Rukh Khan has been roped in as the brand ambassador of the  event.

The championship is being organised  to encourage cricket at the university level. It also 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’, the HRD Minister, Dr MM Pallam Raju and Minister of State, HRD, Dr Shashi Tharoor lent their support from New Delhi via satellite. Also giving the BCCI blessings to this initiative was the President of the BCCI,  N Srinivasan. An enthused audience included Hidehisa Nagae, Executive Managing Coordinator- Director, CR & Marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor; Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, South Asia Ogilvy & Mather India and former BCCI Member, Amrit Mathur, both part of a Rohinton Baria winning team in their university days; Narayan Rao, Executive Vice Chairperson, NDTV Group; college Principals and students among others.

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 Dr MM Pallam Raju, the HRD Minister 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, Dr. Prannoy Roy, Chairperson, NDTV, 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.”

Speaking on the occasion, Sandeep Singh, DMD and COO, TKM said, “Toyota University Cricket Championship is a special project for us and we are very glad to encourage and promote university level cricket in India. Toyota’s foray into this new venture is in line with our global philosophy of creating a sense of ‘WAKU DOKI’, which in Japanese means ‘excitement, joy and fun.’

With the help of our partners NDTV, we have planned a very aggressive marketing campaign for TUCC which will entail a blitz of promotion and BTL activities starting today till the 17th of February and a number of contests and other attractions from February 17th till the 10th of March, 2013. We will also run very exciting contests for the young participants from the audience who will be eligible to win a brand new Toyota Etios Liva. We will also gift a Toyota Etios to the man of the series,” continued Mr. Singh.

Coca Cola are Associate Sponsors of the Championship, and Venkatesh Kini, Senior VP Operations – India, Coca Cola added “Our purpose of associating with sports tournament is twofold. On one hand, it helps identify and promote young talent and gives them a well charted course to make their careers in sports, on the other; it helps us get youngsters into sports arenas and grounds. With change in lifestyles, we are not spending as much time playing as we would do in our childhood. Also sports promote social cohesiveness and well-being and hence Coca-Cola has always taken a very active position in sports.”

He further added, “This initiative with NDTV is unique in the sense that, other than the cricket itself, this also has components of coaching, education in physical well-being and nutrition etc. We are confident that this tournament can emerge as a powerful youth mobilization programme.”

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 Dr 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.”

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