Congratulations to Indian Newslink for re-introducing the Annual Indian Sports Awards Programme and launching with it Community Awards.
Sports is such an important element in the fabric New Zealand life. The achievement of New Zealanders in so many sports such as Rugby, Cricket, Yachting, Rowing, Squash, just to name a few is a matter of pride to all of us.
As a country, New Zealand punches above its weight worldwide.
Sports in India
Sports is also well embedded in the Indian way of life.
Cricket is like a religion in India. In Hockey, India used to win the Gold medal at the Olympic Games, as if by right. Such was their dominance in this sport.
In New Zealand, Indians follow sports very extensively. Ask questions about Dhoni, Kohli, Nawab of Pataudi, and you will get many Indians quoting statistics from memory.
Reality in New Zealand
Unfortunately, the reality in New Zealand, is that fewer and fewer young Indians are taking part in sports and physical activity. This is an alarming trend and hence, we must as a community encourage our youths to participate in physical activity as much as possible. “A healthy body and healthy mind” the saying goes. Success in sports can also open many doors and opportunities.
Changing the trend
Indian Newslink and New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) have observed this trend and want to make an active change to this trend.
This year, the Sports Awards would have a holistic approach, including the Past, the Present and the Future.
The glorious Past
Over 50 Indians have represented New Zealand for many years. They have represented our country in over 10 different sports.
We believe that the first persons of Indian origin outside India who have won a Gold Medal at the Olympic games came from New Zealand. This is an amazing and exciting information. In 1976, two young Hockey players from the New Zealand Hockey team adorned the Gold Medal across their neck after a very noteworthy performance.
There are many more stories about our elite Indian sportspersons.
Indian Newslink and NZICA will recognise a few of these elite sports people every year.
The Exciting Present
In our Sports Awards advertisements, you will find various categories for which anyone can nominate achievers. There are awards in the Cricket, Soccer, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Netball, Hockey, Golf, and other sports. There is also an Award each for the Best Sportsman of the Year and the Best Sportswoman of the Year.
We want every organisation or individual to nominate worthy candidates for these categories.
We are also very open to suggestions on other categories in future years.
Please send them to us.
The Resplendent Future
This is a new direction of Awards. We want parents, organisations, coaches and others to nominate young achievers in any area of physical activity. There are no boundaries here. This is an opportunity to identify your talent and hopefully, Indian Newslink and NZICA can give directions on our youths to achieve their true talent.
New Zealand is a country of opportunities and there should be no barriers whatsoever for the youth to reach their potential.
It is in this area that we as a community have an opportunity and responsibility to make our young people enjoy and achieve great results in a sporting activity.
The Next Step
We would request everyone to publicise and create awareness of these Sports and Community Awards. We invite nominations in any of these categories listed in our advertisement.
Bhikhu Bhana is the current President of NZICA. In his sporting career, he represented Canterbury in Cricket and Hockey at a senior level. In Cricket, he represented New Zealand Universities and the Under 23 team. He was honoured with the ‘Cricketer of the Year Award’ thrice in at the Multicultural Cricket Tournament held in Sydney. In Hockey, Mr Bhana represented the New Zealand Indian Sports Association. He was also a Board Member of Counties Manukau Hockey Association and a delegate to the New Zealand Hockey Association.