The second Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards Presentation Night was held on April 6, 2013 to recognise and encourage sportspeople of Indian descent, who had excelled in their choice of sport.
There were 15 individual categories covering eight different sports, ranging from our Rugby Union and Rugby League, to Kabaddi and the immensely popular Cricket.
Everyone present at the Awards Night was happy that a new category (Best Sports Administrator of the Year) was introduced to applaud the expertise, experience of people who work tirelessly to promote sportspersons.
It was heartening to see Golf recognised at the Awards.
This is the same game, which has Lydia Ko, a teenager of Korean origin, top- lining the sport in the country.
When Sanjay Modgill won the Best Golfer of the Year Award, our minds entertained the thought that this youngster has the potential to achieve such a feat. Sanjay is undoubtedly a gifted golfer.
Soccer is a popular sport within the Indian community.
This sport has three categories in our Sports Awards, including an Award each for the Best Veteran Soccer Player of the Year (won by Vinod Kumar), the Best Senior Division Soccer Player of the Year (Aeron Singh) and the Best Under 19 Soccer Player of the Year (Shalvin Sharma).
Hari Venkat was named the Best Boxer of the Year. It took a long time for Ravin Lal (Managing Director of this newspaper) to read out his achievements.
This was a new category introduced this year.
Game of precision
Anita Kumar was the Best Netball Player for the Year.
Netball is an intense game of skill and precision, which is extremely popular with girls and played across the length and breadth of New Zealand.
The recognition should act as an incentive for more Indian children to take up this sport, since three are immense professional opportunities available to them.
Hockey, India’s national sport, had two categories, one each for the Best Male Player and the Best Female Player, won respectively by Arun Panchia and Shareena Nana, repeating their performance last year.
The fact that these two achievers were honoured respectively with the Best Sportsman of the Year and the Best Sportswoman of the Year Awards testified the interest, success and contribution made by people of Indian origin to this sport.
One of the best examples of high achievement was the presence of Ramesh Patel at the Awards Night. Ramesh has represented the country in four Olympic Games and World Cup Hockey matches. He has been Chief Executive of New Zealand Hockey Federation and Director of Hockey New Zealand.
Kabaddi owes its genesis to the fields of north India. It is a widely played sport in New Zealand, especially amongst the Sikh community.
The independent panel of judges awarded the Best Kabaddi Stopper of the Year and the Best Kabaddi Raider of the Year trophies to Manjot Singh and Harkamal Singh.
Kabaddi tournaments are held all through the year, and if you still have not watched a match live, you are missing something special.
A raffle, held as a part of the Awards Night, added to the excitement. Jay Raniga, Managing Director of Brownsons Jewellers and Memsaab Fashions sponsored two grand prizes – a gold necklace valued at $1000 and a Saree worth about $585.
Experts believe that outdoor activities and sports are essential for youngsters to improve their physical and mental fitness.
Sport teaches us respect for opponents, the value of teamwork and the importance of discipline. New Zealand offers excellent facilities and support to pursue any sport of our choice. Every type of sport offers excellent work-life balance and hence there should be no excuse not to take to the field.
Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards presented an opportunity for sportspersons to be part of a ceremony where merit was the only parameter on which candidates were judged. The Awards Scheme is a platform for the members of our community to demonstrate their achievements and contributions to a wider audience.
It also boosts the profile of clubs and organisations, attracting budding sportspersons and commercial organisation to seek sponsorship.
Sport is the ultimate winner of these Awards.