Thursday, May 08, 2008

Golden Jubilee Games - Ismaili Sporting legends

Zee's Notes: Being at the Canadian Ismaili Games brought back a flood of memories for the likes of me - I played in many of the Triangular Games in the 70's and 80's -back then there were no restrictions on what sports one could participate in. I remember playing soccer, basketball, International Volleyball and Cricket. What transpired was that this weekend I met with so many of the friends from those days - from all parts of Canada. So personally for me it was all about the reconnection of friendships going back some 30 years.

One aspect we always forget is the pioneers who indeed were legends in their respective sports. But the interesting thing is the stories that come as time progresses and it never seizes to amaze me that each individual has his or her own unique story. Here are some I met this weekend:

Fayaz Hasham (Keshvani) - a Kenyan cricket legend who now lives in Toronto. In the early eighties he first lived in Vancouver, where I played on the AK Club with him,before he moved to the Centre of the Universe (Toronto). I found out his son Shahid is a very promising cricket player who represented Canada at the Under-19 level and is currently on track to try out for the Canadian National Cricket Team - I hope he gets there.

Kamru Shamasdin - another cricketer fom Nairobi also in Toronto. Kamru is one generous human being - I remember one year 5 young Vancouver cricketers showed up in Toronto without a place to stay and without hesitation he took us to his home in Pickering and it was one of the most enjoyable weekends that I can remember - better than any 5 star hotel. His sporting genes have carried on famously with his sons - son #1 Jamil went to Harvard University on a Track scholarship and son #2 Irfan went to Brown - also an Ivy League University - on a Tennis Scholarship. Irfan and a third son Adil were at the CIG games playing tennis.

Badru Jinnah (Bhamji) - if you were from Dar-es-salaam then this man needs no introduction. Bhamji was Ismaili Cricket in Dar. He was one of those leaders that when they stepped on the field you felt your team was safe - no matter what the circumstance Bhamji would either hit some boundaries or bowl out the opposition for the win. Now his son took a different turn - seems Bhamji for years owned a farm in the Vancouver suburb of Chilliwack and since there is no cricket there Hanif decided to be a rodeo star and a few years ago he was almost the Canadian Calf Roping Champion at the nationals.

Aziz Meghji - probably there has never been any Ismaili athlete in the last 50 years to compare to this gentleman. Aziz Meghji stands alone in stature and he has been called, by those who watched him perform in his heyday, as the greatest Ismaili athlete - EVER ! Aziz had the unique ability to master any sport he tried - people still talk about the cricket games he won for the Aga Khan Club in Nairobi in the 1960's and he was the first Ismaili ever, I think, to represent a country (Kenya) at the Olympic games in Mexico City where he played Tennis. After coming to Vancouver in the early 70's he started playing golf and in his late 60's this amazing legend was a scratch golfer - something people never achieve in their lifetime - truly a master athlete. His niece's 19 year old son Adam won the CIG golf tournament this weekend.

In the days to come I hope to highlight some more stories from the games....

1 comment:

Nizar said...

Great post Zee...Too bad I found it a little too late. The whole CIG and GJ experience will be cherish by ismailies all over the world.