Sporting spirit came alive for hundreds of bal-balikas from around the UK as the country gets ready for one of the greatest sporting events it has seen – the 2012 Olympic Games.
Children from across the country came together with their parents to participate in a variety of sporting events and represent their home towns from as far as Edinburgh, Dublin, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Preston, Leeds, Bolton, Leicester and Wellingborough, as well as Birmingham and London, in true Olympic style.
More than 300 children, aged between three and 14, took part in the Kidz Ultimate Challenge (KUC) Sports Day at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre in Birmingham on Saturday 14 July, and some 600 more at Willesden Sports Centre, London on Sunday 15 July.
The event was organised by the UK Bal-Balika Mandal with the aim of celebrating the upcoming Games and enthusing the children. The team of organisers had been gearing up for the event for several months, which saw the children compete in events including track races, the long jump and high jump, an obstacle course, netball, and penalty shootouts.
Encouraged by the Olympic torch relay, organisers arranged for a KUC aluminium torch to be made and taken to the children’s cities, finally reaching London for the big challenge on Sunday morning in the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj. The London event was officially inaugurated by Mayor of Brent Cllr Michael Adeyeye, who was joined by the Leader of Brent Council Cllr Muhammed Butt and Cllr Krupa Sheth.
Minesh Patel, one of the lead volunteers for the event, explained: “We wanted the children to have fun and in some way feel a part of what this country has been waiting for for such a long time. And not only is it lots of fun, it also promotes well-being, encouraging the kids to be active, keep fit and stay healthy.”
Excitement and young hopes remained high throughout the two days, and the weather did not disappoint. Children who came first, second and third in each of the events were presented with gold, silver and bronze medals.
Gold-medal winner in the Girls’ 200m, Divya Parmar (13) from London, gushed: “Never thought I could win. I am thrilled to bits! I really enjoyed myself.”
Another participant, Nikhil Saglani (14), humbly shared: “I came second and the best man won. I had a very good day and am well pleased with my performance.”
Janki Chohan (14) from Hall Green, Birmingham, also added: “I’ve had a brilliant day and really enjoyed participating in the different sports. I’ve also made friends with lots of people from different places, which is something I wouldn’t normally get to do.”