The triumphant Negri badminton squad (from left) Keshminder, Jagdish, Jaspal, Bhupinder, Malvinder, Nasibjeet and manager Jasbenda
It was lucky number 13 for Kuala Lumpur, a first for Negri Sembilan and four in a row for Perak.
The 63rd Sikh Festival of Sports, known as the Gurdwara Cup, brought about some memorable moments to cherish for some 700 participants in Johor Baru recently.
The four-day festival saw participants from all over Malaysia, including neighbours Singapore, take part in football, hockey, netball, badminton and golf.
The main objective of the festival, since its inauguration in 1951, has been to keep the Sikh community interested in sports.
Since then, many sports personalities from the community, such as Santokh Singh and Serbegeth Singh in football, as well as Sarjit Singh and Kelvinder Singh in hockey, have gone on to represent the country.
Present at the opening ceremony at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium was the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail.
Kuala Lumpur, represented by Club Aman, emerged as overall winner of the tournament for the 13th consecutive time.
The KL boys were dominant in both seniors and juniors hockey as they became champions in both categories. The senior team, led by current national player Baljit Singh and former national player Harvinder Singh were dominant in all the games and easily beat Singapore 3-0 in the finals to lift the cup while the junior squad managed to win all their matches in a round-robin format.
The KL netball girls, led by inspiring manager Jagjeet Kaur, did not let their contingent down as they emerged champions for the third consecutive year.
Powered by inspirational captain Jaskiran Kaur, the girls comfortably beat Singapore 17-13 in the finals.
Club Aman president Jasbeer Singh was clearly a proud man as he spoke of his team.
“We are over the moon emerging as the overall champions for 13 years in a row. This is all due to a well-planned sports development programme that we have been conducting in Club Aman in hockey, football and netball.
“Club Aman has been a platform for youth development for the whole community and we hope to bring out the best in youngsters,” said Jasbeer.
Perak were the football kings as they became the champions in both the seniors and juniors category.
The seniors team lived up to their favourites tag as they edged Negri Sembilan by a solitary goal to keep the cup for the fourth consecutive year.
Perak’s junior football team, meanwhile, overcame Singapore, also by a 1-0 score line, to come out tops.
“Our boys have been playing together for the past four years with more or less the same squad and it showed during this tournament.
“I am very proud of my players for showing great discipline and teamwork and my hats off to all the coaches and managers who put in a lot of hard work to bring the state success,” said Perak Sikh Union president Gurjeet Singh Rhande.
In the senior category, Negri had reason to be proud as it was the first time in the competition’s history that the team had qualified for the finals even though they lost.
Coached by former state goalkeeper Teja Singh, the Negri lads put up an impressive display as they overcame a more experienced KL team on spotkicks in the semifinals.
Negri Sembilan Sikh Union president Jasveer Singh was clearly happy about the run of the young footballers to the finals.
“The boys had been training for the past four months and we arranged a series of friendly matches to get them ready.
This is a very young team which have been improving over the years and I am confident we can win the cup in due time because these bunch of players are a talented and highly motivated lot,” said Jasveer.
There was double joy for the Negri contingent as their badminton team smashed their way to success by whipping Perak 3-0 in the finals.
Under the guidance of manager Jasbendar Singh, the team comprising star player Jagdish Singh, Keshminder Singh, Jaspal Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Melvinder Singh and Nasibjeet Singh, easily defended the title with convincing wins over their opponents in the event’s round-robin format.
Next year’s Gurdwara Cup games is scheduled to be held in Kedah in the first week of June.
Football - Senior Final
Perak beat Negri 1-0
Perak beat Singapore 1-0
Hockey – Senior Final
KL beat Singapore 3-0
KL beat Singapore 1-0
KL beat Singapore 17-13
Negri beat Perak 3-0