It was billed as one of the biggest sporting events in the country this year, and the New Zealand Sikh Games lived up to the hype last weekend.
Over two days at Bruce Pulman Park in Takanini, the games attracted more than 20,000 people, including more than 1500 participants and hundreds of attendees from outside Auckland.
The second annual games was officially opened by Opposition leader Judith Collins, and attended by many dignitaries including MPs from both sides of the House, the Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi, and India’s honorary consul in Auckland, Bhav Dhillon.
Students of the Punjabi Heritage Dance Academy do a bhangra dance at the opening of the NZ Sikh Games 2020 at Bruce Pulman Park, Takanini, on Saturday, November 28.
The 16 sports categories attracted more than 120 teams in cricket, golf, soccer, netball, volleyball, shooting, badminton, tennis, athletics, hockey, kabbadi, gatka (Sikh martial arts), and dastar.
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But it wasn’t all a sporting affair – cultural competitions including bhangra (Punjabi dance), giddha (folk dance by women), singing and comedy – were also part of the mix.
Games organisers also organised a “Punjabi Pioneers Exhibition” in a tribute to the founder of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, and other leaders who served humanity throughout the world over the 500 years of the religion.
And to top it, there was a non-stop supply of free food (better known as langar) for all attendees throughout the two days of the competition.
Games president Daljeet Singh Sidhu was all smiles at the end of it all.
“We had two wonderful days full of sports, cultural performances and fun,” Sidhu said.
“Congratulations to all the winning and the participating teams and thanks to all the clubs who participated in this event, and also the media for good coverage, sponsors and volunteers who contributed, police and security for offering their services.
“We also acknowledge and thank volunteers and Gurudwaras – Shri Guru Ravidas Gurudwara Bombay Hill, Begampura Gurudwara Papakura, Shri Dashmesh Darbar Gurudwara Papatoetoe – who helped with the preparation and serving of the langar,” Sidhu said.
“Special thanks to the admin team and organising committee who had put a lot of effort to make this event a success.”
Sidhu said it was evident from the past two years’ competition that the games was a huge contributor of the Auckland economy as well, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.
“Hopefully the borders will be open soon and for next year’s games we can then again look forward to more competitors from overseas.”