THE Selangor Sikh Association will send a full contingent of 125 to participate in the largest gathering of Sikh sportsmen and sportswomen at the 2014 Sikh Festival of Sports in Johor next month.
From what began as the Gurdwara hockey tournament, the festival now features football, badminton, netball and golf and preserves its heritage by being known as the Gurdwara Cup.
Participants from all over Malaysia and Singapore will congregate from June 4 to 7 for the 63rd time since the festival’s inception in 1952.
The Selangor Sikh Association (SSA) team will be looking to improve their position from 2nd and 3rd overall placing in 2012 and 2013, respectively, thanks to a robust hockey and football line-up.
Athletes will be looking to secure points for their contingent, where five, three and one points will be given to the first, second and third placing teams, respectively, in each category of sport.
SSA president Amarjeet Singh was confident that the Selangor team would give its strongest rivals, the Perak and Federal Territory teams, a good run for their money as they aim for the overall champions title this year.
“Looking at our performance in the last two years, I believe we are well prepared this year.” he said.
Their confidence comes from the fact that new and younger talents have been introduced into this year’s pool of athletes, an area which the association is committed to developing.
Efforts towards this end include last year’s inaugural inter-district games in Selangor and this year’s team selection for the Gurdwara Cup.
SSA current runs a weekly youth hockey camp in Klang for more than 100 youths and they aim to expand their reach into football.
The association is also in talks with the Youth and Sports Ministry for a initiative to further foster and develop Sikh youths, kicking off with a jamboree set later this year.
Its focus is not just in sports but also in education, entrepreneurship and community social responsibility.
“Our aim is to produce high-achieving youths in various fields.
“We have various programmes lined up starting with a youth jamboree this year where we will have speakers sharing their insights and inspiring the younsters,” Amarjeet said.
“We want youths to interact with us so we know what their needs are, such as after schooling and to get them to interact among other races in different regions” said SSA vice-president Amar Singh.
“Our initiatives will keep them busy with healthy programmes throughout the year.” he added.
The self-funded SSA is also working towards forming a community club that will be open to the public as a means to be more financially independent.
If all goes well with the clubhouse, it could serve as a strategic investment, one which they can leverage on to reach their youth and sports development objectives.
Amarjeet said a plot of land had already been identified for the clubhouse and the association was in talks with the state government to realise their plans.
“We want to provide a platform for youths to gain exposure, to realise their potential and help them see the opportunities that they can make for themselves.
“In sports, talents will eventually phase out, so it is absolutely necessary for us to renew it.” said SSA honorary secretary Mahinder Singh.