Trilochan Gautam, Reading, UK
Greater Reading Nepalese Community Association (GRNCA) organized its 14th Reading Cup (football tournament) last Saturday, 4th September. It was held at Palmer Park, east Reading as a one-day event. In line with the main objectives of the organization; social mobility and integration of the community into the mainstream, GRNCA has been organizing this, beside other activities, for the last 14 consecutive years except in 2020 due to the pandemic.
As usually happens, the tournament has also served as a social Mela (funfair) providing the community an opportunity for meeting and a catch-up. Tents set up at the park, the colourful decorations of the medals, the cheering and hooting from the spectators all make the day joyous. Whether they are football fan or otherwise, everyone enjoys the typical Nepali pipe music and drums (Naumati Baza) and dance, various foods from the stalls, information stalls such as health and well-being, raffles, kids’ entertainment provisions and more.
Including both the youth and the veterans, this time 24 teams in total played in four pitches while hundreds of fans and supporters cheered excitedly. Participants, spectators and guests including the business and the community leaders from other communities were welcomed too.
When the hard-working volunteers prepared the setting early morning, co-ordinated by the vice president Bhimsen Khadka, the opening ceremony took place. Bishwa Adarsha Pandit, the NRNA global advisor and social activist, councillor Rob White, along with Ram Babu Nepal, the second secretary of the Embassy of Nepal to the UK, NRNA member Bal Krishna Dahal started the tournament by rolling the ball passed by the three young children. Also present at the opening were the President of the organization Tek Bahadur Gurung and other executive and general members.
All the teams played to their full strength entertaining the spectators. At the final, the youth team ‘FC Kent’ received a cash prize of £1600:00 and the trophy who beat ‘FC Nuneaton’ 4-0. The runner-up won £1000:00. Among the veterans’ team, ‘BBC’ beat ‘FC Tongba’ 1-0, who received £1000:00 and the runner-up £500:00. Other special achievers were awarded the medals.
As the evening approached, amid the cheering crowd, giving away the prizes, certificates and medals, the president of the Non-resident Nepalese Association; UK (NRNA) Prem Gaha Magar appreciated and thanked the community for organizing such a tournament. Beside past presidents, advisors and the community leaders, other well-wishing dignitaries present at the award ceremony were Mubin Ahmed, the director of the WRAP Limited, who has also been a major sponsor to this charity organisation, including Phil Adams and Joanna Jesionek. Likewise, Unis Nisa, the Covid 19 Communication Engagement and Outreach officer represented the Reading Borough Council.
Finally, the president of the GRNCA Tek Bahadur Gurung heartily thanked and appreciated those volunteers whose tireless efforts brought the tournament to a success, the sponsors, the guests, the paramedics, security officers, and all the participants and audience for their respective roles.
As observed, although it was a one-day event, this tournament has played a significant role in the society involving hundreds of people from various community representing different walks of life at their respective roles. Such an event definitely contributes to a number of positive outcomes to the society including the nurturing of the youth talent. Hence, in sum, it boosts the dynamism of the society by way of human, social and economic development.
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