Akshay Kumar promotes martial arts in Mumbai

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2011, 12:48 PM IST

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar attended the finale of the `Akshay Kumar Invitational and International Karate Championship` in Mumbai on Saturday.

The event was organized by the actor himself and had commenced on October 19.

Also present on the occasion were acclaimed Bollywood actors Mithun Chakraborty and Ritesh Deshmukh, another bollywood actor.

Kumar who himself is a trained martial art fighter, owed all the success he had achieved in life to Karate. He even propagated the study of martial arts in schools.

"What I am today is because of karate. That is what karate means to me. Karate is also about self-discipline, infact any form of martial art. It would be brilliant if students were taught this in schools as a subject. The lives of those children would definitely change," said Kumar.

Kumar also lamented the fact that monetary support for Karate was missing. He added that apart from cricket, no other sport got due recognition in the country.

"Whatever I have learnt I want to share it with people. This tournament I started on my own. You would be amazed to know that I had approached a big corporate company to ask them to sponsor this tournament. But because this is Karate, they offered only 3 lakhs (three hundred thousand) rupees. Only because this is not cricket or any form of entertainment. This is what Karate means to people. It````s a sad thing and I was shocked. From that very day I decided that I would sponsor this tournament on my own," said Kumar.

Participants from countries including Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, participated in the championship.

Kumar later declared that he would like to hold this championship on a larger scale and would like people from across the world to take part.

Akshay Kumar was born as Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, to a Hindu family in Amritsar city of India````s northern Punjab state. He was however raised in Delhi before he moved to Mumbai.

Kumar, besides being an actor, is also a producer and has learnt martial art. He has appeared in more than hundred Hindi films since he started his acting career about twenty years ago.

The actor was conferred with India`s fourth-highest civilian honour - the `Padma Shri` award in 2008 for his contribution to the film industry.

ANI