The Jamats of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea gathered in Sydney earlier this year for a National Ismaili Sports Tournament.


The event, which was held from 22–24 April, resulted from months of planning, and was the culmination of various local sports and fitness programmes promoting healthy lifestyles and enhancing Jamati unity.

The weekend programme opened with a dinner held at the Sydney Jamatkhana, where friends and sports rivals met and renewed old ties. The next morning, representatives of the different Jamati regions took part in a torch relay that marked the opening of the tournament.

“It was not only a sports event but was the best way of connecting with each other,” said Ali Khwaja, a participant from Melbourne. The games included Track and Field, Soccer, and Volleyball, as well as Carom and Chess, which were popular with older members of the Jamat. Younger children enjoyed painting and dance activities.

There was much excitement around a closely contested soccer match between Sydney and Melbourne, with Melbourne emerging as the eventual winner. Other big draws included Cricket and Netball matches, which were won by Melbourne and Sydney respectively.

“A great experience and very exciting to be part of IST,” said Shahzeem Ajani, who played cricket for Sydney. “The games were exhausting but fun to be a part of as they were contested for hard but in good spirit.”

The Tournament's closing ceremony included dance performances by groups in various categories, with wide participation from all Jamats. Awards and medals were presented to winning athletes, and recognition was accorded to all those involved in event preparations, including those who arranged accommodation and food for more than 600 guests.

Monhas Mithwani of Sydney helped organise hospitality services for the event. He felt honoured to be “part of such a dynamic, diverse team,” adding that volunteers “worked tirelessly to make the IST event successful – and they did excellent work!”

“As the Jamat in our region is dispersed, this tournament was a unique opportunity to bring together Jamats from distant areas of the two countries,” said Rai Azeem Chunara, President of the Ismaili Council for Australia and New Zealand. “It provided an environment for interaction, friendship and the sharing of sporting talent and prowess from across the region.”

Having succeeded in realising its vision of “One Jamat, No Borders,” planning is already underway for a National Ismaili Sports Tournament to be held in Melbourne in 2012. Shahzeem Ajani can't wait: “Looking forward to the next edition!”