The Unity Games, an international Khoja sports festival in Dubai, has been hailed a brilliant success – with important lessons for the future of the community.
Held from 24 to 29 December, it saw men’s and women’s teams from Jamaats across the globe compete in sports including football, volleyball, cricket, badminton, tennis, table tennis, golf and cycling.
Shafique Govani, Chairman of Stanmore Jafferys in London, shares a personal appreciation:
“In life we come across milestones on our journey where The Almighty blesses us with opportunities of various kinds,” he said. “As such, the whole Unity experience, from launch back in May up to the closing ceremony, has been priceless for me.
Shoulder to shoulder
“With all groundwork over the past six months, it was with excitement, enthusiasm and eagerness I set off for the event. At the opening ceremony, I was truly honoured to be surrounded by such fine athletes representing our institution with style, charm and elegance – in character and physical attire alike.
“Looking over and around the green fields of the excellent facility, it was heart-warming to be part of a global community lining up for the common cause of the event – Change, Rise & Conquer. All the teams were standing shoulder to shoulder represented in their club and community colours, literally setting the scene of UNITY, ultimately concluding with Dua – e – Wahda echoing across all four corners.”
Moments of brilliance
“I can confidently state that there is an impressive level of ability and scope within our community across the categories,” he reported.
“It is now essential that the community continues to invest in these areas of teams and individual talents aiming towards even higher level of impact. Watching you all playing the games with such commitment and passion was a pleasure to witness and we saw some great moments of brilliance, skill and potential. The blend of experience and young blood is the mixture any club can dream of – as long as we optimise and maximise this for the long and sustainable term.
“Sport has always been an integral part of our community structure and it has become an even larger component over time. Not only is this the case to enable our children a platform to play sports but even to build bridges and connections with wider society as well as capitalising on opportunities and addressing challenges within our community through the channel of sport. The sports landscape is drastically changing with the impact it has and can make on the wider agenda.
“We experienced memorable moments including celebrations and learnings and it is extremely important that we cherish the former and build on the latter. This tournament has furnished us with a yardstick of our positions on our community world sports map, highlighting areas where we are excelling and where we need to spend some more energy.”
There was much to learn from the event, Mr Govani said.
“The captains and teams will gather in the near future to do a post-event evaluation once people have concluded their well-deserved breaks and digested the moments. This part of the process is vital without which a tournament delivery is not complete and must be undertaken in depth with honesty, transparency and integrity.
Legacy and heritage
“In this process it is critical we ensure there is a platform enabling and facilitating ongoing conversations of development and inspiration amongst us sports leaders to share ideas and best practice for which these global events should act as springboard, catalyst and follow-up opportunities.
“We need to have a long-term plan in which all of us play a very important role. We are in our position as a result of block-by-block building exercise over the years, a legacy and heritage that has to continue. On that note, I am pleased that we have initiated a conversation channel which Inshallah will evolve over time.
Pride and honour
“I have truly cherished the moments in Dubai, in particular, the informal networking where I re-established former and formed new connections. During these conversations and also being close to the touchline I ascertained that we have a very passionate membership eager to represent the club and community badge with pride and honour. Furthermore, we could also witness leaders emerging in the young crowd, ensuring a bright and secure community future.”
He concluded: “On a final note, our sincere appreciation is extended to the hosts for their extraordinary commitment and efforts to serve the global community.”