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Epic to launch inspiring series ‘Umeed India’; Sehwag to host

MUMBAI: After changing its positioning as an infotainment channel, Epic will launch on 20 July a show that will narrate the story of 13 top athletes who are preparing for the next Olympics. The show will mark the debut of ace cricketer Virender Sehwag as host.

Highlighting the struggle and hard work of India’s non-cricket sportspersons, infotainment channel Epic will air a new show titled ‘Umeed India’ from 20 July, every Thursday, at 8 pm.

As the tagline ‘13 Khiladi, Sapna Ek’ suggests, the show will follow the journey of 13 top athletes who are facing various challenges in the hope of winning a gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 13-episode series will convey the message that Olympic stars never ‘just’ appear at the games; their story starts as they prepare for it. Sehwag will travel to the athletes’ training bases, chronicling exciting moments in the home environment, besides interviewing their families and coaching staff.

The show will feature inspiring stories of sport personalities such as freestyle wrestler and Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, Paralympian swimmer Suyash Yadav, shot-put player Om Prakash Karhana, sprinter Dutee Chand, judoka Avtar Singh, wrestler Vinesh Phogat and rower Dattu Bhokanal, among others.

Epic director Aditya Pittie said, “With ‘Umeed India’, we are providing a national platform, a national voice to sportspeople of India. With Virender Sehwag on board, I am confident the show will not only serve as a window to the lives of existing champions, but also inspire many budding sportspersons in the country to rise up as future champions.”

While there are thousands of facilities for cricket, the Olympic aspirants hardly have any infrastructure at their disposal. The channel has tried to highlight and raise a very compelling case for the Indian athletes who prepare for events like the Olympics and world championships.

Sehwag stated that he was really moved by the hardship faced by these athletes and that his struggle was nothing compared to theirs. “My struggle is nothing in comparison to theirs. Cricketing facilities are available at every corner of the country. There are thousands of academies in Delhi and they are all well-equipped. There is no struggle for us cricketers in front of them. It is important to watch the show in order to realise how international athletic facilities differ from what we have in India,” he said.

Sehwag will also interact with National Sports Federations and government agencies and discuss their plans to prepare top athletes. The cricketer also said that the media should highlight the problems of these athletes.

The channel has completed filming seven episodes, and Sehwag hopes that he will be able to inspire not only viewers but also the players at his Sehwag International School.

Recently, Epic had changed its positioning to infotainment channel. The channel had also announced the revamped programming line-up featuring new seasons and shows. ‘Umeed India’ is part of that revamped programming.

The channel has already launched the third season of ‘Devlok by Devdutt Pattanaik’, a revamped version of ‘Raja Rasoi’ titled ‘Raja Rasoi Aur Andaz Anokha’ and a new series ‘Drishti.’ Epic is planning to launch other content-driven series such as a travel show ‘Indipedia’, hosted by a Hindi-speaking Caucasian anchor who explores the Indian commonplace; and ‘Faith Diaries’, featuring the tales of pilgrims.

Pittie commented, “Epic has consistently provided content that is unique, informative yet entertaining. By elevating our proposition to be an India-centric, Hindi-language infotainment channel earlier this year, we promised to bring real stories of real Indians and our series ‘Umeed India’ stands as a fine example.”