The Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards 2013 held on April 8 at ASB Stadium in Kohimarama (Auckland) has been hailed as a huge success.
The Awards Presentation Night of these awards, second in an annual series, acknowledged sportspersons and administrators of the Indian community, who have excelled and brought laurels to their clubs, regions and the country in their chosen disciples.
The awards were presented in fifteen individual categories, and rounding up the evening were awards to decide on the winners of the Best Sportsman and Best Sportswoman of the Year.
The entries were evaluated by an independent panel of judges, making the process credible and unbiased.
This fair selection process gained kudos from the sportspersons, the organisations nominating them and the sponsors who had associated themselves with this event.
The host for the evening was the energetic and entertaining Steven Smith, Convenor of the judging panel. He was joined by Indian Newslink Managing Director Ravin Lal, Managing Director and Publisher, Indian Newslink an avid sports buff himself, and the driving force behind this event.
The event started with the presentation of the ‘Sports Administrator of the Year Award,’ a category introduced this year, to bring to the forefront individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to put together sports events, and ensure their smooth running.
Ayaaz Khan was the winner of the ‘Sports Administrator of the Year Award,’ presented by Bank of Baroda (New Zealand) Limited Managing Director Navin Upreti.
The presence of Cricket veteran Parbhu Kanji added value to the Awards Night.
Known as the ‘Grand Master of Cricket’, he was honoured by the Government for his services to the game with a ‘Queen’s Service Medal’ (QSM) at the New Year’s Honours List in January 2013.
A cricket player and more importantly, a devout fan of the game, Mr Kanji has been instrumental in promoting the game in New Zealand for more than six decades.
Rugby is fast becoming popular among people of Indian origin, who have traditionally been drawn towards other forms of sports, especially Cricket, Hockey and Soccer.
Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards recognise both types of the game, namely Rugby Union and Rugby League.
The ‘Best Rugby Player of the Year’ Award was won by Rocky Khan, the first player of Indian descent to represent New Zealand in the All Black Sevens team.
Rocky, whose parents hail from Fiji, was an instant hit with the appreciative crowd for his on-field exploits, and off-field shy demeanour.
He was back on stage later for a humourous interaction with Steven.
The Best Rugby League Player of the Year Award was won by David Bhana, repeating his last year’s performance.
He is the captain of the Vodafone warriors under 20-s team. David has a mixture of Indian, Scottish and Maori ethnicity.
With cricket being one of the most popular games played and followed by people of Indian origin it was obvious that awards category for Cricket evinced widespread interest.
Former international Cricket Umpire Doug Cowie judged the entries received under the ‘Sports Administrator of the Year’ category and helped fellow Judge Gurpreet Aurora to evaluate the entries received for two Cricket categories.
Auckland off-spinner Bhupinder Singh won the Best Cricket Player of the Year Award again this year. He is a member of the Auckland Aces team across all three forms of the game.
The best Under 21 Cricketer of the Year Award went to Gagandeep Singh.
The evening was interspersed with songs and dance items.
D J Dan Hussein entertained the audience with his showmanship and expertise.
An engineer by profession, he has a passion for music and regaled the audience with an eclectic mix of Punjabi and Hindi film songs.
Balaji Sweets & Snacks NZ Limited were the caterers for the Awards Night.
“Next year’s Awards will be bigger and better,” Mr Lal said.