They come, they Sikh and they conquer
OVER 3000 competitors, visitors and curious onlookers turned up to the 22nd Sikh Games held in Woolgoolga and Coffs Harbour this weekend.
One of the organising team, Steve Thandie, said everything had gone extremely well, helped along by good weather on Friday and Saturday.
“There have been a lot of people here at the BCU International Stadium,” Mr Thandie said.
“There were also good crowds at the soccer up at Woolgoolga and the hockey, which we moved to Grafton.”
He said as well as competitors from Perth, Adelaide and Cairns, the international Sikh community were well-represented with visitors from Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The traditional Sikh sport of Kabbadi was a major attraction, as was the soccer. Crowds for both were extremely enthusiastic.
Dorrigo referee, Bruce Mackie, said he'd had fun refereeing at the colourful event.
“There have been some good teams and some good football and also some teams who came for the fun,” Mr Mackie said.
“It's all been very colourful - lots of oranges and bright blues.
“Some of the costumes are amazing.”
On Friday the parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs, Laurie Ferguson, paid his respects to Sikh Australians on the eve of the big weekend.
“Many Sikh Australians are descendants of Sikhs from the Punjab region of India, who settled here over 100 years ago,” Mr Ferguson's said.
“Sheer determination, hard work and resilience have seen the Sikh community thrive and become an integral part of Australian society.”
This weekend's games were the opening event in a series of festivities including today's Woolgoolga Curryfest followed by Khalsa Day, which commemorates the founding of the Sikh religion in 1699 and Vaisakhi, a long-standing harvest festival.
Australia is home to 27,000 Sikhs.
Kabbadi (sometimes written Kabaddi or Kabadi) is a team sport originating from the Indian subcontinent.
Two teams occupy opposite halves of a field and take turns sending a raider into the other team's territory.
Points are scored when a raider manages to tag a member of the opposing team and return to his own team's territory, sidestepping the tackles and wrestles of the oppostion.