Every sport needs an icon: Suniel Shetty

Citing the phenomenal popularity of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, actor Suniel Shetty, who will host the wrestling show “EPW-Saviours”, says it is important to create an icon to popularise any kind of sport.

“I have seen 100,000 people come to watch wrestling and that says a lot. Cricket doesn’t pull that kind of crowd if Sachin is not playing. What we need to do is create an icon like Sachin in any sport,” the 50-year-old said here while announcing the wrestling league.

“Like Sandeep, the world’s number one drag flicker, is for hockey, we can make sure (Indian wrestlers like) Zak, or Khan or Anna can become that figure for children to go to. It will be fantastic. We have Khali (The Great Khali), who is doing brilliantly,” he added.

Suniel, who keeps himself involved in sports and fitness activities, feels kids will love the wrestling event, which will see participation from a lot of national and international wrestlers.

“If you see from the point of view of television, if there is a kid then the whole day he is watching wrestling or WWE. Our extreme professional league is also trying to do the same.

“International stars are coming. I am sure it will attract kids and when kids are attracted, the grown-ups automatically link to the sport,” said Suniel.

Suniel also revealed how as a kid he used to spend his days watching desi wrestlers.

“Sports is a passion and an obsession for me. First cricket, then hockey and now wrestling, a sport I have grown up with. Every weekend I used to go to watch wrestling matches, especially (those of) Dara Singh ji.

“I think kids are equally excited today about WWE,” said the actor who also endorses hockey as he was appointed as the brand ambassador for World Series Hockey.

Suniel was last seen in “Loot ” and “Thank You” in 2011. He is currently working in “Chai Garam” and “Enemmy.”