I am here for my selfish reasons: Shah Rukh Khan at the Indian para athletes send-off ceremony (Twitter photo)
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan along with the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) gave a heart-warming sendoff to the athletes who will be representing India in the Asian Para Games 2018, slated to be held from October 6 to 13, Jakarta. SRK, who remains an icon of inspiration, be it his motivational speech or witty comments, extended his support and well wishes to the athletes.
PCI in collaboration with the actor’s Meer Foundation and Kolkata Knight Riders held a send-off event in New Delhi on Wednesday for the athletes before they leave the country for Jakarta.
The superstar, speaking at the event, charmed and motivated everyone. The actor, however, says that he came to the event for his own selfish reasons and forced the committee to invite him so that he can gain some motivation from these sportsmen. He then recalled his dreams of becoming a sportsperson himself. He revealed that he used to take part in hockey, cricket, football, as well as athletic tournaments while trying to fit into any sports possible.
“I used to take part in as many games as possible so that I can excel in at least one sport. I had a dream to represent my country some day and for that, I used to work really hard,” Shah Rukh said.
The actor reminisced about his childhood days and recalled how he suffered as a kid and the number of painful surgeries he had to undergo.
“I remember when I was a young kid and accidentally injured my knees. I had to be home for one year and distanced myself from sports. Back in those days, my family was suffering through financial crises and hence I could not get a proper treatment. But there was one thing that always stayed with me and motivated me from time and again, that is the blessings of my parents. It was because of my parents and the grace of Almighty, that I recovered and somehow managed to get into Bollywood.
“Since my first injury till 2017, I have undergone 9 surgeries – big and small – and I still feel the pain rising from time to time. I can still visualise the image of a young Shah Rukh going through the pain, and even today when pain takes a toll, I feel like quitting. But the date August 16, 2018, changed everything,” SRK said.
Shah Rukh’s words have the magic to raise a row of inspiration but it was the team of Indian para-athletes who inspired the superstar. “On August 16, I was at my home and didn’t feel like going to work. I turned on the television and saw the program in which Deepa Malik was delivering a speech. That motivation took me back to the motivation that my parents imparted to me at the time of my struggle. I remember what they said to me around 30-35 years ago. Your speech has given me the strength and courage to face any hardships coming on my way for the next 25 years,” expressed the ‘Zero’ actor.
"Today, I wish that my kids learn from you the importance of sports in life,” the actor said.
Deepa Malik, the first Indian woman to achieve a medal at Paralympic Games by securing the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics in shot put, expressed her gratitude towards the actor.
"When an athlete wins a medal, it is for the country and not for themselves. I am thankful to Shah Rukh Khan for coming today and motivating us to do our best. Wherever he goes, he has the charm and personality that brings a lot of recognition. His association with us will raise the awareness about the game," Deepa said.
Deepa Malik, along with PCI president Rao Inderjit Singh and other Paralympic medallists Devendra Jhajharia, Mariappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, among others were also present at the event.
A massive 300-member team, including about 200 athletes, coaches, support staff, escorts, staff, and officials will be flying to Jakarta as part of the Indian contingent, Roa Inderjit Singh, the president of PCI, said.