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Olympian Yohan Blake: Indians should take road safety seriously

by Suman Gupta

Twice Olympic gold medalist speaks about importance of creating awareness towards road safety that kills more than 150,000 people every year in the country

  • The man who has won 4 Olympic medal in sprint is in India to promote the Road Safety World Series being played with the aim to create awareness towards road safety

  • The youngest world champion and the second fastest man on planet is looking forward to engage with the people here to spread the message

Twice Olympic gold medallist, Yohan Blake of Jamaica, spoke about the importance of creating awareness towards road safety in India during a press conference in Mumbai. The man who won four Olympic medals in the field of athletics and the youngest 100m world champion is in India to promote the Road Safety World Series—the annual T20 cricket event which will be played between legends of India, Australia, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka in February next year.

“I am very happy to be here in India today, but at the same time, I am also sad to learn that more than 150,000 people lose their life every year in India due to road accidents. That is a very big number, we can’t afford to lose so many precious lives just like that. I think the Road Safety World Series is a very good platform to spread the message across because I know that India loves cricket and they will watch this Series with lot of interest. What we need to do now is come together to support this noble initiative undertaken solely to save lives on Indian roads,” said Blake, who is one of the favourites to win gold in 100m and 200m events at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo next August.

Blake, who is the Road Safety Champion of the West Indies Legends team that will feature in the Road Safety World Series said: “I am looking forward to the tournament which will be played in February next year. I have said many times before that cricket is my first love, and I would love to see some of my favourite players like Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Virender Sehwag, Bret Lee and many more back again in the field, but, not only to entertain with their exciting game but to spread a serious message. As I can see, the Road Safety World Series is not just a sporting event but a movement to save human lives by creating awareness and changing people’s outlook towards road safety.”

Welcoming Blake’s association with the Road Safety World Series, Mr Ravi Gaikwad, RTO Chief of Thane (Konkan Range), who is also a senior member of the Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra and Chairman of the Trust, Shant Bharat Surakshit Bharat, said: “It is a matter of great pride and honour to have someone like Yohan Blake come forward and support the cause of road safety in India. I want to thank Blake for coming all the way to India

to show his support for the cause of road safety which is being propagated through the Road Safety World Series. I also want to thank Blake for willing to spend some time with us and help create awareness towards road safety, because road safety is a serious concern and through celebrity sportsperson like Blake’s support, we will be able to spread this message to maximum people across the country and around the globe. The more people we are able to reach, the more lives we will be able to save on the roads. So Blake coming in to support this Series is a very positive step in that direction.”

Mr. Ravi Gaikwad, who himself was an U-15, U-17 and U-19 cricketer and attended the Ranji Trophy camp apart from being a H. Sc. state topper, engineering gold medallist and scientist before joining RTO said, “I have, time and again, mentioned that it is of utmost importance that people from all walks of life come forward to support this initiative because the impact of these losses are far greater than just statistical numbers—it destroys families. Whenever someone dies in a road accident, it is the family which suffers the most… it is only the family which can understand and feel the pain and the loss more than anyone else. It throws life of the affected family completely out of gear!”

“When people start their day, they step out of the house with a lot of hope, lot of expectations, they take a step towards fulfilling many unfulfilled dreams! A road accident cuts short everything! It is very difficult to come to terms with such losses. I personally know many families which haven’t been able to come out of such traumas for years. Some have spent their entire life in grief, regret and a wish within, that if only it could have been avoided….Through the Road Safety World Series, we are just trying to address that,” added Mr Ravi Gaikwad.

Road Safety World Series is supported by Viacom18 with Colors Cineplex being the broadcast partner, and VOOT and Jio as digital partner.

Road Safety World Series has also announced BookMyShow – India’s largest entertainment ticketing portal – as its exclusive ticketing partner for the Road Safety World Series. This would encompass all matches being played among legends of the cricket world competing against each other in a T20 format.

Neeraj Singh, DGM Business Development – Sports, BookMyShow said, “Cricket is much more than just a sport in India. It unites people from across the country. We are happy to be associated with RSWS in this initiative of Road Safety and look forward to a successful season.”

About Shant Bharat Surakshit Bharat: Shant Bharat Surakshit Bharat is a Trust working closely with the RTO Department of Maharashtra and the Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra to create awareness towards road safety. Apart from various road safety awareness campaigns, the Trust organised a T20 cricket match last year at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The match was played for TATA Horn Not Ok Please Trophy, in view of the traffic problems, road safety issues and the noise pollution. Several stars like Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Jasprit Bumrah and others participated in the match.

About PMG: Professional Management Group (PMG) is India’s first sports marketing agency co-founded by cricket legend Mr. Sunil Gavaskar. PMG came into inception in 1985 realising the growing popularity of cricket and other sports in the country and understanding the potential for brands and businesses in it. Today, PMG is helmed by industry stalwarts such as Mr. Sam Balsara & Mr. Noomi Mehta, who along with Mr.Sunil Gavaskar have led PMG to the forefront of the Indian Sports Ecosystem.

About Viacom18: Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. is one of India’s fastest growing entertainment networks and a house of iconic brands that offers multi-platform, multi-generational and multicultural brand experiences. A joint venture of TV18, which owns 51%, and Viacom Inc., with a 49% stake, Viacom18 defines entertainment in India by touching the lives of people through its properties on air, online, on ground, in shop and through cinema.

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