New Zealanders are known to punch above their weight, or as some do, push their sporting prowess, far beyond boundaries, compared to their age and experience, setting new trends and records.
Among them is teenager Arzan Todywalla, who has been a source of awe, admiration, and even fascination. He picked up two major honours at the Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards Presentation Ceremony held at Alexandra Park in Auckland’s Greenlane on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
He received the ‘Best Young Sports Achiever (9-14 Years Male)’ Award from Bank of Baroda (New Zealand) Limited Managing Director Prahlad Gupta and the ‘Best Under Soccer Player of the Year’ Award from Saif Shaikh, Director, Immigration Advice Limited.
There was wide applause as he went on stage twice to receive the trophies but there was little surprise. For, winning awards and pushing himself to perform better each time he gets into the field is the wont of this young man.
However, what surprised everyone was that Arzan is just 13 years old and perhaps has won twice as many awards as his age.
How does a boy, born and raised in a humble family that has to struggle hard to scale great heights in a game that is characterised by toughness, competition, stamina and most important of all, the gusto to stay on?
In one simple word, ‘Commitment.’
Arzan derives everything that a child needs, from his small, well-knit family that comprises his parents and an elder sister. How they dote over him, and adjust their lifestyle to ensure that he eats, sleeps, studies and plays soccer, all at the appropriate time is itself a story of love and sacrifice.
The Parsi community, known for its well-preserved traditions and family unity is justly proud of Arzan and the Todywallas.
There are many others – coaches, teachers, elders and peers – who are keen that Arzan should travel far with his soccer, for they believe that there is immense potential in the young man to become a global legend. As his father Viraf mentioned in Indian Newslink (December 15, 2014), “When I first saw Arzan kick the ball, I thought there was a rocket in the sky. He was three years old then.”
His coaches say that the skills and temperament of Arzan are far beyond his 13 years, “they are elite,” and that his coaches have high regards and high expectations.
Committed to a game that has the largest following in the world, Arzan is focused on becoming ‘The Star of Soccer’ and compete in all the major tournaments that various clubs, districts, regions, countries and the world has to offer.
Children on the grow are prone to pranks, hanging out with friends at fast food restaurants and chasing each other in cars as though our roads are racing tracks. But there are some who believe that the teenage years are one of consolidation, character building and determination of future pursuits. They set their eyes on vocations and areas that would test their talent and aptitude and encourage them to strive towards higher goals.
Arzan belongs to that ilk and hence realises that academic achievements and a good record of education are equally important while making a mark on the sporting field. He continues to work towards this goal, assigning for himself standards and targets.
The current year has been good for Arzan. Following are among his achievements in Soccer, at School and elsewhere.
Indian Newlink Indian Sports Award 2015 as mentioned above
Pakuranga College Athletics Day 2015: First in High Jump, First in 100 meters Sprint, First in 200 meters sprint (creating a new record for the College) and Second in Year 9 Boys Rally. His House ‘Pohutukawa’ came First after four years, a status that can make his friends and teachers scream with joy- they did.
His participation helped the Fencibles Club to win the first prize in the recently held ‘Pre-Season Rangitoto College Tournament at North Shore in March 2015.
Arzan was selected for a weeklong special training organised by the National Training Centre at King’s College, a privilege accorded to a handful of players.
Calm and Collected
For all the accolades that he hears, Arzan remains humble and grateful to everyone who has helped him shape his life and soccer career.
“I am beholden to my parents, my sister, coaches, especially Justin Green and Roger Wilkinson as I owe my success to them. I am also thankful to all my soccer teammates as it would not be possible without their support,” he said.
-by Sai Bedekar
Sai Bedekar is a freelance writer and freelance photographer based in Auckland
- Arzan Todywalla with the two trophies that he won at the Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards Presentation Ceremony held on April 22, 2015.
- Arzan Todywalla holding the Trophy that he won for Fencibles Club at the Pre-Season Rangitoto College tournament March 2015