Cricket icon Virat Kohli admitted that breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 ODI centuries would be an emotional moment for him, whereas Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri revealed why he thought of giving up on football at the age of 17 as PUMA’s Let There Be Sport documentary series unfolds never-heard-before stories of India’s top sporting legends.
Kohli, who is just three short of equalling Tendulkar’s record of most ODI centuries in the world, when asked about his thoughts on reaching that milestone, he quickly says, “It will be a very emotional moment for me.”
The gripping conversation also includes Kohli talking about his childhood memories of playing cricket with older boys and highlighting the importance of sports.
“Sports teaches you some values of life, discipline and planning. It opens up your side, making you a productive person. No matter which profession you are in, the value of playing sport is immense. Don’t make them [students] just play sports, teach them. It is important to teach them small details of what it means to play a sport,” Kohli says as he further recalls the incident that took off the pressure of studies from him when his school’s vice principal advised him to religiously follow cricket.
Featuring Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MC Mary Kom, Chhetri, Harmanpreet Kaur and para-athlete Avani Lekhara, PUMA’s six-part docu-series, in association with Disney+ Hotstar, takes a deep dive into journeys of these six sporting greats and also showcases the role and impact of sports and fitness in their lives.
Harmanpreet also shares an incident where she convinced girls from her school to build a cricket team. “I was the only girl playing cricket in the school. So, I went to every class asking girls if they can play cricket so that I can also get to play. That experience taught me a lot of things. Sport teaches you how to handle responsibility and it makes you independent,” Harmanpreet says.
PUMA’s on-going revolutionary Let There Be Sport movement promotes integration of sports in the main educational curriculum rather than just an extra activity.
In one of the episodes, football star Chhetri is seen recalling the time he felt leaving the game.
“I still remember we lost one game badly [while playing for Mohun Bagan], we faced a lot of criticism. I called my dad saying this is not for me. I was 17 at that time. We used to play in Delhi but had never experienced such madness and when that happened, I was crying in the bathroom and I thought to myself I won’t be able to do it [play at such level]. I was physically scared,” Chhetri remembers.
“But looking back now, thankfully it happened that time because you understand that this is serious [sport] and incidents like that in sports is why you stay humble,” he further adds.
The docu-series also showcases Yuvraj talking about how a young Indian team added fuel to Indo-Australia rivalry with fearless cricket in 2007. Mary Kom and Avani also shared compelling stories of their journeys, emphasising the need to give sports more prominence and encouraging Indians to engage in sporting activities.