It started with a bang…and confetti rained over the velodrome.
The 25th Australian Sikh Games had officially started, reaffirmed by a roar from the crowd. Three days of sports, competitions, performances and lots of gup shup.
The day began early for the SYA team, arriving at the grounds and hunting down the best stall available that would be our home for the next three days. We eagerly set up the stall; adorning our banners, arranging our t-shirts and kicking off our competitions. Before we knew it, time was up and we had to rush to the velodrome for the opening ceremony.
SYA volunteers were tasked with singing the Australian national anthem and Dayh Shiva (the Sikh National anthem) for the ceremony. After introductory words and speeches by various dignitaries such as Senator Ms Kate Lundy, Mr Victor Dominello MP, and Mr Andrew Robb MP, it was our turn. The crowd rose for the anthems, which resonated across the velodrome, evidenced by many pride-filled Jakaras by audience members. After the anthems, there were several entertaining performances – Gatka (Sikh martial arts), Bhangra, horses - and it all finished with a cannon firing confetti over the velodrome, it was a sight to be seen!
We then rushed back to the stall and started our daily activities. Today, we had a colouring competition for the little kids. The calibre of the drawings was incredible, and the children got quite competitive with each other, many of whom came back throughout the day to have another go. We started distributing our showbags containing a bunch of fun things like lollies, temporary tattoos and our latest kirtan CD! For the older children and adults we had a game of ring-toss, where the winner won a fee can of coke, perfect for the hot weather. Whilst, it looked and sounded easy enough, it was slightly harder than it seemed, with only 12 winners throughout the day. In addition to the ring-toss, the jellybean guessing competition proved to be a huge attraction to all that walked by, with people of all ages having a shot at winning a jar full of jellybeans! Before we knew it, the day was over and it was time to pack up!
Saturday marked the second day of the games and traditionally its busiest day. The grounds were abuzz with activity, with athletics events kicking off early. Throughout the day the crowds rolled in to watch soccer, hockey, netball, cricket and the ever popular kabbadi. The SYA stall also kicked off early with a long queue of children wanting to get their face painted and SYA tattoos put on. As the day progressed, we had more contenders for ring-toss and the jellybean guessing competition.
Just after lunch we all put our dancing shoes on for a quick bhangra workshop by Manu Singh. The sound of the dholl got our blood pumping and we were rearing to go. Although we made plenty of mistakes, a good time was had by all!
Before the day ended, we had a special visitor to the games - Jazzy B and Sukhshinder Shinda dropped by and made sure to take a couple of photos with the SYA volunteers, and even asked for one of our lovely t-shirts! With that, we drew close to another fun filled day at the games.
And then it was Sunday. None of us could believe that the final day of the games was already here! This also meant that it was finals time. When not at the stall, each of the volunteers snuck out to watch some high quality and entertaining sport. Today at the stall we gave away the last of our showbags, gathered the last few contenders for the jellybean guessing competition and painted all the faces we physically could! Today also marked the last day of the SYA rabbit, that had gone around the games each day distributing chocolate eggs! It seemed that with the blink of an eye the day was over, and it was time to pack up for the last time.
Over the course of the three days we painted over 60 faces, collected over 300 guesses for the jellybean competition, gave away 400 showbags and distributed 3kgs of easter eggs! We were exhausted but we had a great time and personally, I can’t wait to do it all again in Melbourne for the 26th Australian Sikh Games!!
We would like to thank the following volunteers who provided the energy, passion and committment to see this fantastic first-time initiative from planning to success:
Written by: Prabpreet Calais
If you would like to get involved in SYA activities Please let us know!