dinsdag 10 juni 2008

Sikh to play Canadian football

Sikh to play Canadian football
9 Jun 2008, 0229 hrs IST , Gur Kirpal Singh Ashk , TNN




Navraj Singh Bassi

PATIALA: Navraj Singh Bassi of Vancouver will be making history when he will take the field in the Canadian Football League with his patka on. The 6-foot-6-inch-tall Sikh footballer will play for Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders.

If he plays in his team's match against BC Lions on July 4, he will be the first Sikh to play football with a patka. Till now the headgear was considered a hindrance among Sikhs who wanted to play this game. Interestingly, Navraj's brother Pavan is a super heavyweight boxing champion and his father, Kulwinder Singh Bassi, supports Navraj's passion for the game.

Kulwinder said, "We are very excited that he will be given an opportunity to showcase his talent and by the grace of God he will excel in the sport he has loved since he was a child." Talking about his team, Pavan said, "Saskatchewan coaches are really impressed with his abilities and Navraj is really enjoying the team atmosphere."

Notably, Navraj has played on both sides of the ball as an offensive lineman as well as a defensive lineman but Saskatchewan, who are very excited to have him in their team, hope to use him on both the D-Line and as a blocking tight-end.

Harbans Singh Jandali, former president of Ontario Sikh and Gurudwara Council told TOI from Toronto that Punjabis living in the area were very eagerly waiting for the match and a large number of them would be in Vancouver to cheer up Navraj.

Navraj, who weighs 294 pounds, attended college at the University of Oregon. Despite receiving more than 40 offers for football scholarships, the North Delta Secondary School player chose to stay in the northwest to remain close to his family. He played a few seasons with the Oregon Ducks.

A leading Punjabi broadcaster in Canada, Kuldeep Deepak, said with pride, "We have registered our community's presence on the football field also."


Stories from 1984 and Akal Takhat

Stories from 1984 and Akal Takhat