As Ismailis around the world prepare for the Jubilee Games in Dubai, the Jamat of the Far East came together in November to participate in their own sports tournament, which served as a regional qualifier for the international Games.
Held in Kuala Lumpur, the Far East Sports Tournament brought together athletes from Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. An array of physically and mentally challenging sports were on offer — from badminton and table tennis, to chess and Jenga.
With participants ranging in age from 3 to 80 years old, the event offered something for every age group and ability. Youth members from the Malaysian Jamat kicked the day off with an intense but entertaining Bollywood Zumba session to warm up the athletes.
Table tennis, badminton and futsal (a form of indoor football / soccer) were held at Datuk Lee Chong Wei Sports Arena, while outdoor cricket took place at a field off site. Although the inclement weather of the monsoon season caused cricket to be called off early, inside the sports arena badminton players faced off on one side of the hall, while the table tennis competition was in full swing at the other end.
For doubles events in table tennis and badminton, players from different regions were randomly paired together. Each pair had to trust one another and work their talents harmoniously in order to prevail.
“The Far East Sports Tournament has always offered a great platform to meet and connect with the brothers and sisters of other Far East Jamats,” says Danny Amin of Thailand, who won the champion’s trophy in table tennis. “I consider myself extremely fortunate for the opportunity afforded to me.”
Promoting the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle, the Health Portfolio of the Ismaili Council for the Far East was offering the Jamat blood pressure tests and sugar level checks. They were also providing information on health risks and non-communicable diseases that are common in the South Asian community, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The day came to a close with an award ceremony that exhibited the enthusiasm, pride, and honour experienced by each country at the tournament. Despite having a team of only two athletes, Sri Lanka surprised by taking the most trophies in badminton, showing that talent and determination count for more than team size.
“I'm extremely excited and can't wait for the [Jubilee Games] to begin,” said Azmin Sadruddin, the Far East regional coordinator for the Games. “We have a few very strong athletes who will be representing the Far East from our region.”
Athletes from all countries departed with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts as they look towards Dubai.