Luton Tournament 2018
Article written by Sonia Suresh Modhwadia
There are three key ingredients that make a successful tournament: delicious food, enthusiastic fans and participants, and tough competition. On Saturday 21st October 2018 Luton delivered all three.
Luton’s own, Uttam Modhwadia, said the tournament was a success and that, ‘With unity we can preserve our culture’, the day’s success being the first step towards that unity’.
Competitors from across the UK descended upon Luton for a tournament that would, for some, be remembered for a long time to come. As is Luton tradition, they introduced new sports to the Maher community; golf and basketball. While organising football, netball and a host of other sports.
The day began with football, the 11 and under and 15 and under categories. The Maher Sports Committee, the organisers and participants were happy to see two stark contrasts from the year before. The first, there were more than two teams in both categories and second, girls participated in both categories this year. The future potential of Maher football was seen on that pitch, with London claiming victory in the 11 and under event, thanks to the player of the tournament: Veer Keshu Modhwadia. Leicester dominated the 15 and under category, taking home both the winners and runners up trophies, Dylan Odedra being the clear player of the tournament.
As always, the Senior Football attracted a number of spectators, and the thirteen teams that participated did not disappoint the crowds. There was a wonderful mix of old and young players, each team fighting hard for the win. Some premier league worthy goals were scored, with amazing goal keeping from all sides. We even witnessed the first goal by a girl in the tournament, by Priya Modhwadia (London).
In the end, there could only be two finalists, winning against two of the toughest teams in the tournament, Borough FC and Loughborough, London A and Luton A made it to the finals. London players praised their goal keeper, Akshay Sisodiya, whose unwavering resolve won them the semi-final penalty shootout. Luton’s Rushil Karawadra and Ranjit Bokiria scored beautiful goals to send their team to the final round of the competition, hoping to win for the fifth time after winning the previous four years.
To say the finals was a tense game, would be an understatement. Both teams played their hardest, constantly fighting for the ball and taking every opportunity that came their way. But, with both goalies conceding only one goal, the game went into extra time. With both teams playing exceptionally, the game ended in a nail-biting penalty shootout. For all London supporters it was a surreal moment when Mitesh Karavadra scored the winning penalty to break the ‘London Penalty curse’. Ashok Modhwadia took home the player of the tournament trophy and 2018 marked the first seniors football win for London. A win London’s Suresh Modhwadia, manager and coach of the London team has been waiting for, for over thirty years.
As always, a number of people signed up to play table-tennis and pool, from young players who had never participated before to veterans. So many so that pool unfortunately could not be finished before the day ended and trophies were presented.
The greatest success of the day was arguably the netball competition, for the first time in a long time there were five teams: London A, London B, Luton, Loughborough and Birmingham. Luton not only had some of the most enthusiastic and determined players, but also the youngest of the tournament. The young netballers reminded everyone about the importance of having fun and taking part. Loughborough gathered the Maher matrons, creating a team who entered for fun but left wanting to take up sports once more, and return next year. The biggest surprise of the day was the minibus full of netball players who travelled down from Birmingham, keeping their promise from the previous year to come to the 2018 tournament. There were spectacular goals scored by all teams but in the end London A retained their title for the fifth year in a row, thanks to the amazing goal scoring by Priya Modhwadia, whose skills left us all speechless.
Giving a speech The UK Maher president Vimalji Odedra hailed the tournament a success, later saying, “The recent Maher tournament in Luton was very successful and a bright day for Maher Sports”. As president of London Maher Community Association he added, “I am very proud of London’s achievement in football, netball and the other sports they took part in”.
All in all, the day was a success, we can only hope the next tournament, which will hopefully be held in Loughborough. will bring more participants (children and women) and more spectators from across the UK.
Complete List of Winners and Runners up (apologies for any mistakes or omissions, list was based on information that was available):
11 and Under Football
Winner: London A
Runners up: Leicester
Player of the tournament: Veer Keshu Modhwadia (London)
15 and Under Football
Winners: Leicester A
Runners up: Leicester B
Player of the Tournament: Dylan Odedra (Leicester)
Winners: London A
Runners up: Luton A
Player of the Tournament: Ashok Modhwadia (London)
Winners: London A
Runners up: Birmingham
Player of the Tournament: Priya Modhwadia (London)
Badminton – Men
Winner: Kishor Modhwadia (London)
Runner up: Ravi Gareja (Luton)
Badminton – Women
Winner: Mira Modhwadia
Runner up: Priya Modhwadia (London)
Badminton – Men’s Doubles
Winners: Kishor and Satyam Modhwadia (London)
Badminton – Mixed Doubles
Winners: Kishor Modhwadia and Mira Modhwadia
Runners up: unknown and Priya Modhwadia (London)
Runner up: Kishor Modhwadia (London)
Winners: Loughborough A
Runners up: Loughborough B
Player of the tournament: Ryan Saund (Loughborough)
Winner: Raj Visna (32 Points)
Runners up: Babu Odedra (31 Points)
Third place: Kanu Odedra (28 Points)
Front Nine Hole winner: Pratap K K
Back Nine winner: Jitu Modwaday
Longest Drive: Vlijay Vadar
Nearest Pin: Khima Goraniva