Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan has appealed people to cheer and support Indian athletes the same way they shower support to other sports, especially cricket.
On the Friday episode of "Kaun Banega Crorepati", champion sprinters Dutee Chand and Hima Das will be felicitated for their victories.
On the show, Big B asked: "Just like the studio audience present here cheered for you and gave you a standing ovation, do a lot of Indians come for your athletic meets to cheer for you?"
Dutee was quick to respond: "No Sir, there are very few Indians who attend our events."
"Sir, in my opinion, there is only one sport which is religiously followed in India and that is cricket. No matter wherever people play cricket, it automatically attracts a crowd. However, that is not the case with athletes. We barely find this support.
The common notion is, that our event gets over in 10-15 seconds whereas people are more engaged with a tournament which lasts for at least a couple of hours. I would just like to say that being an athlete, for those 11 to 15 seconds that we run at sporting events, we practice hard for 365 days. When you play as a team, the teams' victory is your victory. But as an athlete, in case we suffer an injury, we don't get to participate at all.
Therefore, when the public cheers for us, we feel motivated and inspired to perform better. We play for the country and our only motive is to make our country proud," she added, on the KBC episode to be aired on Sony TV.
Big B then urged people to motivate athletes, saying: "I feel that when our athletes represent our country in a foreign land, more and more Indians should visit these events to cheer for them, because it only adds to their confidence and motivates them further."
He added: "I have observed this at many sporting events that athletes start cheering themselves in a hope that the audience will join in. This adds to the fervor and only encourages the athletes further. People like us should visit athletic meets to cheer for our athletes wholeheartedly."