JOHOR BARU: Some 1,500 participants from the Sikh community got together here for a four-day sporting event.
The participants, from nine states including Singapore, will be participating in several games, namely hockey, football, badminton, netball and golf.
Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Islandar launched the event, dubbed the 71st Gurdwara Cup & Sikh Festival of Sports at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here today (June 1).
The Gurdwara Cup, first introduced in 1949, is one of the oldest sporting events in the country that aims at uniting all Sikhs from Malaysia and Singapore who share a passion for sports.
Sultan Ibrahim was greeted by the sounds of bagpipes by the Sri Dasmesh Pipe Band upon his arrival at the stadium.
The Kuala Lumpur-based band won the World Pipe Band Championship (Grade 4B Category) in Scotland in 2019 and is the world’s largest Sikh bagpipe band.
Johor Sikhs Sports Club (JSSC) patron Datuk Avinderjit Singh thanked Sultan Ibrahim for launching the event.
"This is the second time the Johor Ruler has launched the event as the last time Johor hosted it was in 2014," he said, adding that this event has been organised annually for the past 71 years.
He added that Johor's Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim will be attending their Gurdwara Cup dinner on June 3.
Meanwhile, Johor contingent chef de mission Balbeer Jessy said it was an honour for Johor to host the event after nine years.
"We have made a lot of meticulous preparations to cater for the 1,500 players and officials involved,” he said, adding that the Johor team has been training at least six months for the event.
"We are off to a good start with Johor beating Singapore 4-3 in their first hockey match at the Taman Daya Hockey stadium," he said, adding that Johor is the defending champion.
Also present at Thursday's opening ceremony were Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, State Secretary Tan Sri Azmi Rohani and other state officials.