Cuttack: National level sports, entrepreneurship, fitness and now Roadies – there are only a few things Xerxes Diniar Irani hasn’t done so far. Xerxes, the 27-year-old from Cuttack is the first from the state to qualify for the ‘Culling Round’ of MTV’s reality show Roadies Real Heroes.
Hyperactive since childhood, Xerxes loved spending his days under the sun – from climbing trees to swimming or playing football, basketball or simply going on bike rides.
In an interview with Odisha Bytes, Xerxes explained how sports runs in his blood. His father and his “role model”, Diniar Parvez Irani is an Olympian who represented India in basketball in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and 1979 Asian Basketball Championship, Nagoya, Japan. He has been a coach for Sports Authority of India and still continues to promote basketball. His mother, Gayatri Devi Irani, is a former national-level basketball player as well. She had trekked to Mount Everest base camp a few years back. His sister, Dilnawaz too is a former district-level swimmer with a gold medal.
Xerxes’ patience and fitness are what impressed Rannvijay Singh, Neha Dhupia, Nikhil Chinapa and Sandeep Singh. However, his interview round episode has been titled “Bad Boys #SorryNotSorry” by MTV owing to the fact that former Indian hockey captain Sandeep Singh got cheesed off with him for showing his basketball skills.
“When I gave Sandeep Sir the ball fake while showing my skill, the intention was not to disrespect or hurt him in any way. But he found that gesture to be offensive and my instant reaction was with a smile when I very casually told him it was done with a sporting spirit. I did feel bad that he took it to heart. I thought to myself that I should have avoided doing that trick. I guess I had become over friendly and it worked against me. But I did apologize to him and tried to convince him that it was done instinctively with no intention to hurt his feelings. I was nervous and disappointed when he did not give me his red buzzer even when I told him that he was my first choice as a gang leader,” Xerxes explained.
Asked about his intention of joining Roadies, he said “I want to promote sports and fitness and become a youth influencer and I figured there is no better platform than Roadies to help get the mileage required to achieve my goal. It’s also about representing my state – Odisha and I want to make my friends, family and fellow Odias proud.”
Xerxes has worked with Decathlon and also set up eastern India’s first Laser Tag arena in Kolkata. He intends to build a sports academy in the future to showcase Odisha’s talent nationally. He also intends to open his own sports-based NGO soon.