Thousands of spectators and more than 500 amateur athletes are expected at Surrey’s Tamanawis Park this weekend, for the first annual Punjabi Sports Festival.
Taking place August 3 and 4, the event was organized by members of local sports clubs in partnership with the local Sikh temple.
“We’re trying to highlight the amateur athletes, local athletes who don’t get exposure otherwise,” said Pary S. Dulai, a director of Gurdwara Sahib Dashmesh Darbar temple, and one of the festival’s organizers.
The athletes are men and women, ranging from kids to adults, registered in four sports: field hockey, wrestling, tug-of-war and weight lifting.
One highlight will be Saturday afternoon’s field hockey match between Canada and Brazil, at 4 p.m.
As many as 5,000 spectators are expected over Saturday and Sunday, Dulai said, and the temple’s kitchen will be preparing free food for them, including daal, roti and rice.
Most of the athletes and spectators will be Punjabis, but organizers expect a mixed crowd, including non-Indians as well.
“Sport is open for everybody, there shouldn’t be any restrictions on who can play and who cannot play,” said Dulai.
“This was one of my pet projects, trying to get the community involved in other issues, other than just religious issues. We want to be out there in the community, and we want to work with the broader community.”