We had often felt that we did not do enough to promote sports, motivate youngsters to become physically fit and most important of all, recognise and reward achievers.
While we were enthusiastic in sponsoring and reporting soccer matches (much to the delight of fans), we had largely left other forms of sports uncovered, save for sporadic reports. We have however been always keen to improve our own performance in sports.
The opportunity arose with the launch of the Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards in 2012. This annual event brings together talents of the upcoming generation of players of various forms of sports and achievers of yesteryears.
Our Awards Night serves as a veritable platform for everyone interested in any form of sports to encourage finalists and winners to lift their game and register better performances in the ensuing year. The event also inspires others to take sports seriously and endeavour towards excellence.
The Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards Programme is growing; and as it gets better and bigger every year, it would evince the interest of the wider communities including coaches, selectors and expert performers. It will hopefully promote the spirit of unity and solidarity among sportspersons of Indian origin in the first instance and extend it to other ethnic groups.
Sports Awards are imperative in today’s world of lessened physical activity; for such awards are important contributors to community and public health.
A lack of physical exercise is often stated to be the cause of serious health issues confronted by New Zealand. These include obesity, cardiovascular diseases and other ailments, contributed mainly by improper diet and inadequate lifestyle.
While physical fitness centres have proliferated all over New Zealand spinning commercial success for their franchisers and franchisees, the answer to good physical health rests on sports.
The Indian community has displayed its talent in a number of sporting fields, including Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, Badminton, Tennis, Hockey, Basketball, Netball, Kabaddi and Golf. Our young boys and girls have done well in representing their schools, clubs and perhaps districts. They have the potential to do better.
All they need is motivation, encouragement, recognition and applause.
We believe that the Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards Programme does these and more. It instills the spirit of competition among players, pushes them to improve their on-the-field performance and compete on a level-playing ground. As well as receiving trophies for their achievements, the winners earn national attention. Awards such as these deserve prominent media coverage.
That is how we began with our Sports Awards in 2012.
But it was not a smooth ride. There were many who thought that presenting awards to achievers in various forms of sports was a fantasy, and would not sustain itself.
There were usual questions and apprehensions, punctuated by anxiety and even second thoughts.
“Will it Work? Will commercial organisations support the project with their patronage and sponsorship? Will there be sufficient entries to justify the Awards Scheme? Who will be the judges constituting a panel independent of Indian Newslink and Sponsors?
We soon found to our delight that all these apprehensions and fears were unwarranted. Less than three hours after our February 1, 2012 issue hit the newsstands, a number of people called our office to appreciate the initiative and promising support.
“You have created a sterling product in the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards, motivating Indian businesses to compete under various categories. These Awards have become a major source of inspiration for the community to promote their products and services be a motivating factor and put in place proper business plans and strategies.
“Indian Newslink is now creating a new vista for our sportsmen and sportswomen to foster their talent. We have surging talent among the members of the Indian community and we are sure that the Sports Awards will achieve their main purpose of recognising and rewarding the achievements of our people. We will extend all support,” they said.
An inspiring initiative
Counties Manukau Police Sergeant Steven Smith has been yet another source of strength and encouragement as he readily accepted our invitation to head the panel of Judges.
“I have always advocated an Awards Scheme to recognise and reward the sporting talent among our men and women. There is a pronounced need to encourage our youngsters to take up sports, to not only boost the image of New Zealand as a sporting nation but also to help them remain physically and mentally fit. I am confident that the Awards Scheme will grow from strength to strength, year after year. I am as excited about the Awards as you and other judges are,” he said.