Thursday, September 22, 2016

Level Field columns

Level Field
When voluntarism is dying art in sports, people like Datuk Dr Harjit Singh and DSP Balwant Singh, gave it a fresh breath in keeping it alive with their works, dedication and passion for sports.
Both based in Johor, through their Johor Sikh Sports Club (JSSC) and the Royal Malaysia Police Sikh Sports Association, Johor branch (RMPSSA) respectively, jointly organised ‘The Johor Sikh Sports Fellowship Night dinner 2016’ last Friday at the Millisime hotel at Iskandar Puteri.
The dinner was held to honour Johor born national Olympic high jumper Nauraj Singh Randhawa for doing the nation proud.

Bu what was even more meaningful of the dinner was that it was self-funded – dinner tables bought by supporters – a raffles draw was held to collect funds for the development of sports through the JSSC of which Harjit is the president – which he has been serving for almost 20 years with a break in between for a few years.

Dr Harjit’s name is synonymous in sports in Johor, especially cricket where he is the president of the Johor Cricket Sports Council.
His passion for sports is always overflowing, and his love for cricket is something he acquired from his father Meva Singh, who was an ex-Selangor and renowned Kilat Club cricketer.

A former student of English College Johor Baru (now known as Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar), the good doctor learnt to score at the age of five, earned his personal bat at the age of six and came under the watchful eye of the famous late Mike Shepherdson at the Kilat nets.

Until today, Dr Harjit, whose trademark is his humility, is a firm believer of grassroots development and schools being the foundation of sports.
“Today the lack of sporting facilities and the neglect of schools sports is the bane for national sports development,” said Harjt boldly in his address at the dinner.
“People like Nauraj surfaced through the dedication of his parents and some private support. Imagine if he was discovered much earlier and nurtured, he would be miles ahead in his performance.
“It is sad that support and recognition only comes when one achieves something, when these athletes should have been guided the moment their talent is identified.”
The fact that Harjit and Balwant decided to join forces, not only to honour Nauraj, but to raise funds for further development in the sports of football, hockey and cricket in the state of Johor, speaks volumes of their heart for sports.
That people who rallied around to support this cause is indeed applaudable.
About 230 guests graced dinner occasion which was filled with entertainment of music and songs.

While Nauraj was presented with a memento by Balwant, the vice president of the RMPSSA, he also received a personal donation of RM 1,000 from Harjit.

But the surprise of the evening was when a supporter of Nauraj who attended the dinner, Joanne Joseph with her husband Shashi Raman, made a personal contribution to Nauraj for his training expenses.

“My late father was a teacher in the English College, and he would have been elated that a student of his college (Nauraj) had done the nation proud by qualifying for the Olympics. In memory of him, I want to make this personal contribution to Nauraj to assist him in a small way to further his aspirations to bring more honours to the nation,” said Joanne when making the cash presentation to Nauraj at the dinner where his parents Amarjit Singh and Manjit Kaur were present.

It may be a small contribution, but it was the big heart of Joanne and Shashi that mattered and went to show that Malaysia has many sports loving fans, who in their small way will stand up to assist.

From the dinner, Harjit and Balwant with their committee, raised RM15,000 to be used for development, which is another effort which needs to be lauded, as here is a sports body who does not depend on hand outs or sponsorships, but raised funds through their own effort and support of a sports loving community.

Harjit is also the man responsible for Amarjit to be in Rio to watch his son jump at the Maracan√£ Stadium.

It was Malay Malay’s Emeritus Editor, Frankie D’Cruz, when he heard that Amarjit, who largely responsible for the rise of Nauraj, hoping to see his son jump in Rio, that he threw the idea to Harjit to try and raise some funds.

In that meeting in Johor in June, where this conversation took place, Harjit sprang into action immediately and with a few phones calls to his friend had raised RM5,000 in less than half an hour.

The idea was then taken up by the Johor Sikhs Golf Association, whose president Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah, organised a golf tournament and raised RM10,000. This amount was matched by Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, while Harjit raised another RM3,500 for a total of RM8,500.

Without doubt Harjit, the former deputy president of the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) from 1990 to 2003 and chairman of the development, has been very passionate of sports and has his wife, Datin Kaldip, stands behind him strongly in support of his charitable works and passion for sports. She is always seen with Harjit running all the errands and is the organiser from behind the scene.
Both Harjit and Kaldip are down-to-earth, jovial and delight to have for company anytime of the day.
Harjit is so passionate about cricket that he has even brought the game to even schools in Felda schemes and ‘kampungs’ in Johor.

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