How a Sikh sports club is building a stronger community in Australia

How a Sikh sports club is building a stronger community in Australia

By bridging the generational gap through sporting and cultural events, Balraj Ougra is a local hero, performing an important role for the Australian Sikh community. Balraj is the Secretary for Sydney’s Super Sikhs Sports and Cultural Association, and his team’s passion for connecting people through sport has strengthened his community and helped develop the next generation of leaders.

Eight years ago, the Super Sikhs Sport and Cultural Association was formed as a platform to allow the current and next generations of Sikh-Australians to build community networks and thrive in their Australian journey. Since then, Balraj and his leadership team have worked hard to grow the club, creating opportunities for club members to improve their sporting skills, and their success is reflected in consistent high achievements in the annual Australian Sikh Games.

“It’s an occasion for everyone to get together and celebrate their sport and celebrate they’re part of the Sikh community, thus connect with each other from different parts of Australia,” Balraj said.

“Of course, none of this would have been possible without the participation and passion of the Sikh population across Australia, and in our club.”

“The community knows there is a hub for them to play sport and a trusted place for parents to send their kids who are interested.”

Balraj Ougra said the club was started not just as a sporting platform, but also as a way for these younger community members to become part of something bigger.

“We felt that it was necessary to get them engaged within the community and stay involved with their culture, and Super Sikhs was just a vehicle to allow that to happen,” he said.

The Sydney-based association welcomes everyone, and Balraj said new migrant Sikhs find the sports and activities run by the organisation valuable to meeting new people in a comfortable environment.

“The club builds a community family and support circle for people who have just newly arrived in Australia or have been here for a couple of years and are yet to find a circle to become part of,” he said.

“The beauty of sport is that it’s a universal language and it doesn’t matter what part of the world you go to, you don’t have to say anything, but if you know the rules and you know what needs to be done, you can participate.

“That’s why sport plays a really big factor in making people feel more comfortable in their transition to a new country and that’s what’s beautiful about it.

Balraj and his team’s work also helps the community accomplish their goals, become part of an inclusive community and allow their children to prosper in areas such as sport which is a core passion of mainstream Australia. 

“A connection helps preserve culture and traditions that our parents or grandparents grew up with and it helps educate the next generation born outside of India about their heritage,” Balraj said.

Balraj and his team’s work also helps the community accomplish their goals, become part of an inclusive community and allow their children to prosper in areas such as sport which is a core passion of mainstream Australia.

As part of their mission to help Sikh-Australians flourish, Balraj and his team identified a gap in major sporting events for their members in Sydney, creating the Super Sikhs Sports Cup, the largest annual multicultural sports festival in Sydney.

“Super Sikhs decided six years ago that we need to run annual events so we can provide a way for our members to progress and foster their talent at a higher level of competition, such as the Australian Sikh Games,” he said.

Major events like the Super Sikhs Sports Cup provide a showcase and incubator for community sporting talent to progress into mainstream clubs across Australia and into formal representative pathways. As Sikh community players transition into mainstream teams, players connect and build networks with people from other communities and participate in wider Australian society.