This year marked the return of the much-awaited Indian Newslink Sports and Community Awards at Tasman Room, Alexandra Park, Greenlane, Auckland.
Monday, October 8, 2018 was a night to remember.
The revamped, Fifth Edition of the Sports & Community Awards showcased why honouring sports personalities against as well as member of the community without any age limitations, is a special feat.
The Guests of Honour included Members of Parliament Judith Collins, Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar, Michael Wood, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Blackcap Opening Batsman Jeet Raval and Auckland Hockey Chief Executive Manoj Darji Sports Awards.
By supports the Sports segment of the Awards, the New Zealand Central Indian Association (NZICA) underscored its philosophy to use the medium of sports for connecting with the next generation with respect and love.
NZICA was instrumental in seeing the sports categories had recipients spread across age groups – by honouring the past players (the Elite), applauding the present players, and showing aspiration in the youth as future stars.
Its approach to this notion found wide patronage.
Honouring the Elite
The crowning of Elite players pleasantly surprised the packed audience.
A large portion of them crowd was amazed that many players from the Indian Diaspora had represented New Zealand when names came up on display.
Some of the players have been exceptional, like the winners of Olympic medals, and three members of the same family representing the country in multiple disciplines.
Such awareness and much-deserved recognition made the Awards Ceremony unique.
A migrant himself, Raval’s inspiring speech focused on the array of opportunity New Zealand has to offer, and the fighting spirit sports personalities needed to develop to handle moments of highs and low with the unwavering mind set.
The Community Awards were presented to individuals with significant professional contribution as well as to those who have been volunteering their services for the community’s betterment.
Ms Collins echoed the importance of such community participation within the Diaspora in her brief address to the audience.
In the professional contribution area, many of the recipients came with long illustrious careers behind them. Their hard work has seen them rise to great heights in their professions with vigour, passion and true commitment.
Many of them did not pursue fame or fortune, but it was their well-recognised professional excellence, combined by their enduring humility, that saw them chosen as worthy recipients of Awards.
It was important to recognise a few special people, especially volunteers.
As at the end of 2017, of the 97,000 people involved in New Zealand’s Non-Profit institutions, 90,000 were identified as volunteers.
A total of thirty-five plaques were presented in the Community Awards section.
Due to the nature of these Awards, families and friends of nominees were present at the Awards Ceremony. It was a night that was not only special for the recipient, but also gave the opportunity for them to share the moment with their dear and near ones, thanks to a highly affordable ticket price.
The Awards organisers were humbled, although not surprised, as the event was sold-out, with a participation of more than 525 people.
It was a memorable event.
The wheels are already in motion for next year’s function which will also include Awards for Arts and Culture. Indian Newslink hopes to present at least 100 Awards in various categories of Sports, Community, Arts and Culture in 2019.
Ravi Nyayapati is an IT and Business Consultant and a Columnist for Indian Newslink. He was the Project Manager of the Fifth Annual Indian Newslink Sports & Community Awards 2018.