Friday, March 5, 2021

AFL Hindi

Reading Time: 3 minutesManpreet Kaur Singh will call two AFL games in Hindi in the Multicultural Round this month

Parents often influence their kids with life decisions small or large. Sometimes though, it is the other way round.
When Avtej (Avi) Singh began playing Aussie Rules as a primary school kid, he had no idea that his mum would love the game so much that she would go on to have a professional connection with it one day.
Today, 17-year-old Avi, a Year 12 student at Melbourne’s Caulfield Grammar, wears his patka (Sikh head covering) proudly as captain of his team. He won the Best and Fairest award at school last year and was well on his way to winning it again this year but for a knee injury that has kept him off the field in recent weeks. He is a supporter of Richmond like the rest of his footy-mad family (his favourite player is former Caulfield Grammar boy Brett Delidio).
His family initially knew nothing of the game, coming from India. Mum especially, did not even want him to play a contact sport for all the usual reasons. As he introduced them to the “game made in heaven”, his mum’s passion slowly grew.
“I drove my boys around for their games and watched from the sidelines,” Manpreet Kaur Singh tells Indian Link. “And I realised what a quintessentially Aussie thing it was, a Victorian thing, to follow a footy team. So for me, it’s a love that has grown over the years. Even my daughter is a keen Richmond fan – it’s great, because this year they are doing well!”

Manpreet of course, is well known to Australia’s Indian community as executive producer and broadcaster for SBS Radio in Melbourne and as an award-winning journalist.
Her formal association with the game began last year when she was invited to be part of AFL’s multicultural focus group, reaching out to the Indian community to see how they could be better involved.
“This, and the trial run in 2013, were both fantastic experiences for me. I learnt more about the game as we took it to the gurudwaras and the temples and ran introductory sessions.”
The highpoint of Manpreet’s involvement with the AFL came she was asked to call the Essendon vs Bulldogs game last year on Foxtel in Hindi and Punjabi.
An injured Bombers captain Jobe Watson sat alongside her.
“I’d never called a match like this before!” Manpreet laughs. “It was not strictly ball-by-ball calling, but rather, familiarising the Indian community with the game. It was lots of fun really, especially the banter with Jobe. The challenges, on the other hand were, remembering the names of the players – there were 22 of them on the field – as the game moved incredibly fast.”
This year, Manpreet will call two games in Hindi – Collingwood-Carlton on 8 Aug and St Kilda-Fremantle on 9 Aug. You’ll need to download the AFL app to be able to hear her.

Manpreet Singh with the other Multicultural Round commentators

Manpreet claims to be a fan of Tiger Alex Rance, who has Indian heritage. She is waiting for the day another Indian-origin player follows the path of former Adelaide player Balraj Singh, the first player of Indian origin drafted by an AFL club.
“Secretly, I hope that this time round, it’s a dashing young lad wearing a brightly coloured footy patka.”
No pressure, Avi!
On the Adam Goodes saga, Manpreet, a perennial optimist, will only give the positive spin.
“The solidarity shown by the fans, puts back the faith. The upsurge of sentiment we’ve seen has only gone to prove that the heart is in the game. Regarding Adam himself, it’s fantastic that he’ll be back!”
And to the Indian community, Manpreet has a special message: “The AFL has embraced India, and now it’s up to us to return the favour.”
Meanwhile, we hope she’s brushed up her Hindi for typical microphone clichés such as “nasty situation”, “having an off day”, and “touch of the fumbles”.
Heck, what is the Hindi word for “kick”??

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Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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