Maher Tournament 2023: Luton (Results)

Maher Tournament 2023: Luton
By Sonia Suresh Modhwadia

After four long years of putting the tournament on hold, with the help of UK Maher Sports, Luton hosted a brilliant tournament. We were treated to sports, good food, brilliant company and entertainment for the weekend on 29th and 30th July 2023. There were doubts, questions and concerns of a two day event; but all those worries were quickly put to rest with the success of the tournament.

As usual there was an array of sports for participants to choose from; football, netball, badminton, table tennis, pool, volleyball and a special addition of basketball. There was a range of ages in all of the sports, including a number of youngsters participating in badminton.

Saturday started promptly with registration, chai and nasto, and a bit of light rain; not that this stopped the children’s football. Though the youngsters would have loved more teams and competition, the number of families in attendance and supporters made up for any disappointment. The Leicester under 9s and 11s team took the winner’s trophies, with Luton coming in as runners up in both categories.

We were treated with a great turnout for the netball, with five team entries; two from London, two from Luton and one team from Leicester. After a day of tough competition and a surprisingly slow start from London A, four teams went through to the semi-finals based on goal difference.

With Sunday left for the final few matches, for once there was no rushed finish and everyone had the chance to truly enjoy their time together. The evening event was held at the same venue, with lots of good food, drinks and music. Though we enjoy the competition and representing our own towns, the party depicted what the tournament is sincerely about, spending time together as a community, seeing family and friends and most importantly making memories. In fact, we seemed to enjoy ourselves so much, that we had to be ushered out of the building at the end of the night because no one was ready for the celebrations to end. Sunday had a bit of a later start, but once again the organisers didn’t miss a beat, with chai and nasto ready to go before the final matches began.

There was tough competition in badminton and pool, with their loyal set of organisers and support. It will come to no-one’s surprise that the reigning champions of badminton mixed doubles, Kishor and Mira Modhwadia (London), retaining their first place trophies; with Mira taking the winner’s trophy is the women’s singles category as well. As usual, there were a large number of people who tried their hand at pool but ultimately Dipak Kuchhadia (Peterborough) was crowned as this year’s champion.

It was also great to see how a sport like netball, that would gather viewers of maybe a handful of people and the family of participants to watch a few years also, was one of the most watched sports this year. Even the men’s senior football was put on hold so that they could come and support the teams playing in the semi-finals and finals.

It was a tough semi-final between Luton and Leicester, with viewers at the edge of their seats, as for the first time, the game went into overtime. Ultimately, with the home town advantage, it was Luton who scored the golden goal and won. It will come to no one’s surprise that Luton faced London A, who beat their junior team in the semis, in the netball final. Though they tried their best, London ultimately came out on top, even with an injury to one of their key players, making this their eighth win in a row.

The Senior’s football was as competitive as usual, with Peterborough, Loughborough, TMG (Leicester), and Luton in the semi-finals. With goals from Neil Godhania and Satyam Modhwadia, Peterborough sailed into the finals with a 3-1 victory. Luton cut it slightly closer, but beat Leicester 3-2 to make it a Peterborough and Luton final. The finals was a close match, as the time ticked down, the whispers of penalty shootouts began. But Despite Sid Bapodra’s goal to keep Luton in the game, Neil and Satyam won the game for Peterborough. Neil, with a celebration that will be remembered by all those that attended, deservingly won the player of the tournament trophy. Peterborough have now won two tournaments in a row, but perhaps more impressively, they have not lost a single game in those tournaments.

Though there are many volunteers and individuals to thanks, a special shout out to the youth organisers: Ishwari Modhwadia, Rushil, Komal and Karan; who have dragged these tournaments and committees into the twenty-first century.

The 2024 tournament will be held in London!

List of Winners, runners-up and players of the tournament (apologies for any omissions):

Football Under 9:
Winners – Leicester Lions (Leicester)
Runners up – LT Maher FC (Luton)

Football Under 11:
Winners – Leicester Lions (Leicester)
Runners up – LT Maher FC (Luton)

Football Seniors:
Winners – PIS (Peterborough)
Runners up – Luton All Starts (Luton)
Player of the tournament – Neil Godhania (Peterborough)

Winners – Vada Paus (Hemel Hamstead)
Runners up – Puri’s puris and Jay’s London Lions (London)
Player of the tournament – Veer Modhwadia (London)

Winners – London A (London)
Runners up – Luton Laadkis (Luton)

Winners – Uganda

Badminton Women’s Single:
Winner – Mira Modhwadia (London)
Runner up – Priya Modhwadia (London)

Badminton Women’s Doubles:
Winners – Mira and Yashoda Modhwadia (London)
Runners up – Prya and Rhia Odedra (London)

Badminton Men’s Single:
Winner – Kishore Modhwadia (London)
Runner up – Satyam (Peterborough)

Badminton Men’s Doubles:
Winners – Neel Sisodia and Laxman Sundavadra (London/Loughborough)
Runners up – Kishore and Satyam Modhwadia (London/Peterborough)

Badminton Mixed Doubles:
Winners – Kishore and Mira Modhwadia (London)
Runners up – Vanlata Sisodia and Laxman Sundavadra (London/Loughborough)

Table Tennis:
Winner – Dipak Kuchhadia (Peterborough)
Runner up – Sid Gereja (London)

Winner: Dipak Kuchhadia (Peterborough)

Referees of the Tournament:
Football Seniors – Happy
Netball – Priya Modhwadia