A sporting chance

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There’s fun for everyone at the FIAV Sports Day

Community youngsters were introduced to traditional sports like Kho Kho at the recently held Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) Annual Sports Day.

Not everyone, including the chief guest Inga Peulich, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, knew much about Kho Kho*, however participants soon got the hang of this ancient Indian sport and enjoyed taking part.

The event was held at the Sportlink Vermont on what turned out to be a rainy Saturday, however the indoor sports venue saw no dearth of eager participants ready to try their hand at all the fun activities.

With a choice of cricket, volleyball, yoga and egg and spoon races, there was something to appeal to all ages. In the volleyball contest, Malayalee Federation was the winner while in cricket, IFCA won the day. Free vegetarian biryani and raita was offered for lunch.

In his brief address Robin Scott, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Finance, acknowledged the presence of many women and young people at the event. He congratulated the FIAV for involving the new generation to carry on the work done by their predecessors, and thanked them for their significant contribution in bringing the community together.

Vasan Srinivasan, Chair of the Confederation of Indian Australian Associations (CIAA) and former President of FIAV, urged the Minister to increase the funding provided to FIAV to enable them to continue working effectively towards the benefit of the community.

Young Victorian Indian cricket star Hope Kareta was presented with an award for her performance. When asked to say a few words to inspire other young sports enthusiasts, Hope put it simply by saying, “Don’t forget to have fun!” According to Hope, the importance of any sport is the joy in playing it. Playing the game and playing well is what sport is all about.

In her speech, chief guest Inga Peulich praised the FIAV for being one of the “most active and best-organised community organisations”. She said the success of the FIAV is mainly due to the effort of community leaders like Vasan Srinivasan who has played a key role in developing and strengthening FIAV’s position within the community. She also praised current President Thomas Joseph for his leadership and efforts in continuing the good work.

According to Ms Peulich, governments should be all about supporting the communities that are putting their heart and soul into making sure that their culture and traditions are passed on to future generations. The decision makers should ensure the current needs of the Indian community are being met, and also that the new generations, particularly those born in Australia, continue to feel a sense of belonging and feel connected to their culture.

“As a person who migrated here as a ten year old, I can understand that it is so easy to become distant from your country of birth and the culture to which you were born,” Ms Peulich said.

“One of the strength of organisations like FIAV, and events such as these, is the sense of renewal. The fact that it’s not just the older generation that is involved, the newer generation is equally participating,” Ms Peulich said, as she specifically thanked young committee members Jay, Sury and Ambrish for organising the successful event.
What is Kho Kho?
*Kho Kho is a tag sport played by two teams of 12 players with only 9 players entering the field at a time
*The aim of the sport is to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team, with the objective of the defending team to tag all opponents in the shortest time possible; the quickest team wins
*A match consists of 2 innings with each innings involving chasing and running for 7-9minutes. Each side alternates between chasing and defence.
*The game requires a very small area of evenly surfaced ground, rectangular in shape, 27m by 15m. The only equipment required are the two poles at either end of the field.

Preeti Jabbal
Preeti Jabbal
Preeti is the Melbourne Coordinator of Indian Link.

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