The achievements of New Zealanders in Rugby, Cricket, Yachting, Rowing, Squash lead us to believe that as a country, we punch above our weight.
Sports is also so well embedded in the Indian way of life. Cricket is like a religion in India.
In Hockey, India used to win Gold Medals at the Olympics, as if by right.
In New Zealand, Indians follow sports very extensively. Ask questions about M S Dhoni, Virat Kohli or the Nawab of Pataudi, you will get many quoting statistics by memory.
Unfortunately, the reality is that fewer and fewer young Indians are taking part in sports and physical activity. This is an alarming trend and hence, we must encourage our youth to participate in physical activity.
Success in sports can also open many doors and opportunities.
The New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) and Indian Newslink have observed this trend and want to make an active change to this trend.
This year, the newspaper has planned a holistic approach to the sports awards: The Past, The Present and The Future.
The Past: More than 50 Indians have represented New Zealand for many years in 10 different sports. We believe that the first persons of India origin who 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 gave noteworthy performances.
We will recognise a few of these elite sports people every year.
The Present: There are eleven categories of Sport Awards this year, including Cricket, Soccer, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Netball, Hockey, Golf and other sports. We will also recognise and reward the Best Sportsman and Best Sportswoman of the Year.
The Future: This is a new direction of Awards. There are no boundaries. This is an opportunity to identify your talent and hopefully, Indian Newslink and NZICA can give directions to our youth to achieve their true talent.
It is in this area that we as a community have an opportunity and responsibility to make our youths enjoy and achieve great results in a sporting activity.
For tickets, please contact Venkat Raman on 021-836528 or Ronny Kumaran on (09) 5336377 or 022-1913666. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bhikhu Bhana is President of the New Zealand Indian Central Association, the largest and oldest Association that represents the Indian Diaspora in New Zealand. The Association is a Partner of our Sports & Community Awards this year.