Kamal Haasan, Indian cinema star actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam president, had a pleasant surprise for athletes from Tamil Nadu who will be taking part in the Tokyo Olympics, during a video-call interaction Tuesday evening.
He spoke with members of the athletic contingent and wished them luck as they embark upon their journey to Tokyo. The athletes present during the meeting were Arokia Rajiv (4x400m men’s relay), Naganathan Pandi, (4x400m men’s relay) Revathi Veeramani, Subha Venkatesan, (4x400m mixed relay category) and Dhanalakshmi Sekhar (4x400m mixed relay category).
Kamal Haasan hailed the athletes as the ‘real universal heroes’ who, in spite of hailing from financially weak backgrounds, have distinguished themselves as outstanding achievers.
“Cinema fans affectionately call me Ulaganayagan (Universal Hero), but in reality, it is you who deserve the title. You have the distinction of making the world sit up and take notice of your achievements. Even the greatest of empires lasts no more than 500 years; poverty, too, is similarly impermanent. If those with talent set their minds to it, they can chase away poverty in no time. I am sure you are going to do that."
Kamal Haasan hailed the athletes as the ‘true wealth of India’ and said it was his duty to celebrate them. He further exhorted them to pass on the knowledge that they have acquired from their teachers, to up-and-coming athletes. He advised them to stay calm and collected, and “respect your competition as much as you respect yourself. Things will happen automatically. We are waiting to cheer you on as you return home with medals."
Revathi recounted how Mr. Kamal Haasan had called to congratulate her a few days ago, and said they would do their best to win medals in the Olympics.
“We are very happy that you have motivated us. We will do our best to win medals for India,” she said.