A carnival atmosphere descended upon Uber Sports Football Courts at East Coast Park on 11 February 2012 as more than 500 players and supporters from various ethnic groups, new citizens and expatriates participated in a unique football tournament with a multi-racial and charitable element.
Organised by Young Sikh Association (Singapore), a non-government organisation established in August 2003 to foster friendships across ethnic groups in Singapore, the region and the world, the event witnessed the participation of a record 56 teams from different ethnic groups, backgrounds and age groups, including new citizens and expatriates.
Mr Michael Palmer, Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Punggol East, lent his support to the tournament's objective by kicking it off through an exhibition match involving players from various ethnic groups.
Aung Myint Htay, representing GB United A, a team from Myanmar, shared, "This is the first year that we are taking part in this event. We sent two teams. All my team members are happy to see so many people at the event. We have made some friends. We will surely come back again next year."
Similarly, Joshua Sim, whose team, Why So Serious, which was participating for the first time as well, stated that, "The tournament is so well organised. Besides the main event, we had side competitions and a tea reception. All these provided the opportunity for the players to meet and interact with one another. The tournament is a good concept to bring people from different groups and nationalities together."
Mr Palmer also witnessed the presentation of a cheque of $16,100 raised by the Association from within the network of the tournament's players and supporters to the Sikh Welfare Council for the launch of a mentoring programme for children from needy families. The money shall be used to train and professionally equip mentors for the programmme.
At the end of more than 100 matches in all competitions, La Plata Juniors won the 'Open' final; Paris 23 took the honours in the 'Veteran' category; 'Rainbow Nation' won the 'Ladies' category; Friends United FC A took the honours in the Under-14 category and GIIS Puma A took home the 'Under-12' title.
The event was supported by the National Integration Fund, Southeast CDC, Lee Foundation, National Youth Council, through its ChangeMaker Grant, Football Association of Singapore and OnePeople.sg.
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YSA's programmes are organised through membership, annual subscription fees and the kind support of donors.