Tuesday, March 9, 2021

A winning kick

Reading Time: 4 minutesStudent from rural India is flown to Sydney in an attempt to score a goal for Canterbury Bulldogs, writes RITAM MITRA
Shivanand Swami on the pitch
Shivanand Swami, a 29-year-old business networking student from rural India, was not who most spectators expected to see attempting to kick a goal during the last home game of the season for the Canterbury Bulldogs. But it was Swami who lined up for a shot at goal during half-time, attempting to win $1 million as his prize for winning a trading competition run by one of Canterbury’s corporate partners, Easy Forex. Although he missed out on the grand prize, Swami walked away with $20,000 and was certainly one of the highlights for the thousands of rugby league fans who were cheering him on at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Swami hails from the Parbhani district in the Indian state of Maharashtra, where he lives with his parents, two brothers, two sisters and their families. Although he makes a living distributing Luminous-branded batteries while studying business networking, he has always had an interest in the foreign exchange and commodity markets. Swami won the competition by making forex trades based on daily market trends. By using guaranteed profit rates, he ensured that 100% of his trades were profitable. He beat thousands of other traders from around the world, including runners up from China and Australia.
Having lived in Parbhani his whole life, winning a luxury trip for two to Sydney was the first of many firsts for Swami when he heard that he won the competition. To begin with, although he would be kicking a rugby ball for the chance to win $1 million, there was a slight problem; he had never heard of rugby league before, let alone kicked a rugby ball. “When I found out that I won the competition, I was excited and was practicing and learning the game, and felt proud that I was visiting Australia for the first time”. In addition, Swami is the first person in his family to ever visit Australia.
Shivanand Swami kicking for the million
However, it was almost over before it began, Swami’s visa was cleared just five hours before his flight was due to depart. To help prepare him for the kick, competition organisers Easy Forex arranged for Swami to have a special session with none other than rugby league legend, Hazem El Masri, who is 300 points clear of Andrew Johns as the leading point scorer in NRL history.
There was, however, a catch; El Masri was not allowed to teach Swami to kick, but only demonstrate by kicking a few goals himself.
“It was interesting,” said El Masri. “I had to try and teach him something without actually telling him about it. I wish him the best of luck”. Asked for his assessment of Swami’s performance leading into the big kick, El Masri had a simple piece of advice. “Get angry! I needed him to get angry, but he’s just too nice”.
On the night, Swami was decked out in official Bulldogs gear, and looked every bit the professional player. “I was obviously nervous when I went for the kick,” he said. “I am disappointed I missed the chance to be a millionaire, but I very much enjoyed the Australian tour. I like Australia very much and the Australian people are very good and cooperative people”.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, Swami’s kicking game let him down and he missed out on the grand prize, but the experience has opened up a world of opportunity for the passionate trader. With his $20,000 in prize money, he plans to open a food processing unit in India and start a forex trading institute in order to teach beginners and advanced traders the best way to trade foreign currencies. The Chief Executive of the Bulldogs, Raelene Castle, was delighted that Swami still received a $20,000 prize. “It was a great spectacle to see Swami out there on the field at half-time, said Castle. “It was great to hear the crowd get behind him”.
Swami himself was still elated with the experience. “I’m so happy I have won this money! I am very grateful to Easy Forex for giving me the opportunity to come to Australia for the first time and see the game of rugby league. This prize will help my family back home in India.”
Although he plans on helping others with the money and his impressive knowledge of the trading markets, there are exciting new things on the horizon for Swami himself. “I am looking to move overseas rather than live in India and I would like to pursue a career in forex and stock market trading”.
Swami does, however, have a score to settle with the rugby ball after missing out on the grand prize. “Mostly [rugby league] is not played in India, but I like the game and I will practice when I am home so I can play this game much better”.

- Advertisement -
Ritam Mitra
Ritam Mitra
Ritam recently discovered that after years of repeatedly losing his off stump, it's more advisable for him to write about cricket than to play it. Ritam was the 2014 Young Journalist of the Year (Premier's Multicultural Media Awards)

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

trikone mardi gras 2021

Trikone dazzles at Mardi Gras 2021

  South Asian queer support group Trikone marched in this year's Mardi Gras parade held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and honey, it was...
parent teacher meeting

How to engage with your child’s school

  After nearly a year of restrictions placed on parents, schools have finally re-opened. Parents can drop little ones off to Year 1, they can...
david shoebridge nsw parliament

Queries on ‘far-right extremism’ raised with NSW Minister

  Questions have been asked to NSW Minister of Multiculturalism Geoff Lee about recent incidents in Sydney’s Indian community that have raised concerns about social...
Siji Krishnan, Father’s portrait 2016 (watercolour on rice paper) 134.6 x 315.0 cm. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Indian art at Melb’s NGV Triennial 2020-21

  The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial is an art exhibition organised every three years which displays works of contemporary artists and designers across...
mitali modi with kamala harris

Shattering glass ceilings: Mitali Modi on working with Kamala Harris

  Emboldened to take action in an era of heightened political polarisation, racial unrest and an uncontainable pandemic, young Indian American Mitali Modi talks here...