Close to 5,500 people enjoyed the Punjabi Mela held annually at the Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, July 2, organized by the Punjab Sports and Cultural Club. Along with the food and cultural programs, they also cheered on the numerous teams from around the country that came to compete at the 17th International Kabaddi and Volleyball tournaments.
The tournaments kicked off after the traditional opening prayer (Ardaas) ceremony by Palatine Granthi Bhai Mohinder Singh. The guests of honor at the program were Consul General of India in Chicago Neeta Bhushan, Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy, D-Ill., Dr. S. P. Singh Oberoi, Amolak Singh Gakhal, Sardar Manjeet Singh(Canada), and Sardar Jaspreet Singh (Attorney of Law), reported Asian Media USA.
Bhushan and Krishnamurthy addressed the audience and thanked everyone for joining the celebration. Sardar Amrik Singh, president of the Punjab Sports and Cultural Club applauded the hard work and determination of the teams that participated in the tournament. This was followed by award ceremony with celebrity guest Hans Raj Hans along with live musical performance by famous Punjabi Singers Jasmine Sandlas, Sharry Mann and Rupinder Handa. The event reflected Punjabi traditions and heritage of sport, food and music.
Competing teams for the Kabbadi tournament hailed from the Wisconsin, Indiana, New York, Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Washington and Michigan. The championship match was between Seattle and Yuba City. Seattle beat Yuba City in a intense game, by the score of 39 points to 23 points.
Five teams competed in the volleyball matches. Tony Sanghera’s team . from Chicago was the winner. Second place prize went to the Yuba City Team.
The sports tournaments and entertainment were followed by the “Mela.” Apart from the many guests of honor and leaders in the community, the special guest for the evening was Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, the son of a Sikh farmer from a little-known village in Punjab, now one of the largest petroleum dealers and retailers in the Midwest. He was also the Grand Sponsors of the event.
Winners of the games and other contributors to the event were honored with plaques. The Punjab Sports & Cultural Club Chicago members present were President, Sardar Amrik Singh (Chicago), Vice President: Sardar Gurmeet Singh Bhola, Finance Secretary: Sardar Amrit Pal Singh Sangha, S. Jaskaran Singh Dhaliwal, S. Narinder Singh Sra, S. Harvinder Singh Billa, S. Lovedeep Singh Dulat, S. Amrik Singh Amar Carpets, S. Gurmeet Singh Bhola, S. Rajinder Singh Dayal, S. Lucky Sahota, S. Hardeep Singh Gill, S. Manminder Singh Heer, S. Gurpreet Singh Gill, S. Gian Singh Shera.
The next big sports is scheduled to be held on Labor Day weekend Sept. 3, hosted by Sher-e- Punjab Sports and Cultural Club Chicago.