KEATON SAMRA: THE NEXT LEWIS HAMILTON

This month BASTF have been graced by a guest post by our very own Ambassador Manisha Tailor.  It features an emerging talent “Keaton Samra“, who is pushing to become the first British Asian Formula One driver.

Learning to drive, a skill that can take several months, and for some, a number of years before they are at the stage of taking to the road as legally passed drivers. I think back at myself, 17 when I began taking lessons and perhaps the average age for most, but certainly not all as I have found someone who at the tender age of 6 started to learn this fine art. Someone who has already impressed the likes of Zip Kart, Grand Prix Racewear as well as the Sporting Director from Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 Team – Keaton Samra.
Whilst for the majority of 5 year olds, child’s play, free exploration and discovery of their surroundings would be a common interest. But, for Keaton Samra, now 11, this was when his fascination for cars began. It was through watching Formula 1 (F1) that led to his love for karting, inspired by the 2008 F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. “I started driving at 6 years of age and I really enjoyed it from the moment I started. I think the best part of it is the high speeds that you encounter going round corners”.

Within just 2 years Keaton embarked upon competitive racing and his achievements to date are commendable. In 2012, in his first attempt, he came 1st in the Whilton Mill Kart Club championship. This year he participated in the East Anglian Championship, which was a weekend event. Winning both the Saturday and Sunday finals he achieved the ‘East Anglian Champion’ title. Also being crowned the ‘Midlands Champion’ this year, it is to no surprise that his name is on the same trophy as racing hero’s Nigel Mansell and Jenson Button!

Earlier this year Keaton, with his father Suki Samra, appeared on Brit Asia TV show, Real Talk Sport, hosted by Apache Indian. His goal for this year was to secure a seeding of 10th in the UK, which through hard work, dedication and commitment he has been able to do. Currently, Keaton is officially seeded 10th in the UK in the Honda Cadet Class. A real credit to himself and his family.

Suki speaks of the importance of parental support within the sport in ensuring Keaton is in the best possible position to fulfil his dreams. “Parental support is paramount due to the level of sacrifice and commitment it takes. We are effectively out 2-3 weekends per month and as part of the British Championship where we also have to travel all over the UK”. He goes on to say, “We would not change a single moment and quite frankly we get bored when we are not racing, especially Roman, Keaton’s 5 year old brother who adores his brother and wants to also race!”

Keaton’s school work is equally held with high regard and both the school and family have found strategies to balance education with sport, illustrating that both can have a significant role in a child’s development. Suki explains, “School work is completed on the day that Keaton receives it in order to stay on top of it. Since Keaton started karting, his school work has improved significantly and he is in the the top group for all classes with maths and science being his favourite”.

In addition, Keaton created a training programme with the help of his father which involves: training in the gym 3 times a week, stretches, push-ups and sit-ups every morning when he wakes up prior to school. As a result, Keaton is one of the fittest drivers in his class and does not break a sweat or be out of breath when other drivers are breathing heavily and red-faced after a race!For those budding drivers wanting to get into the sport, this is what Suki advises, “Just make sure that you can afford it and be prepared to sacrifice your weekends. Speak to professionals and reputable teams to ensure that you are not ‘ripped off’. Ultimately, be prepared for the ups and downs. Enjoy it as it can very easily become serious”.Unfortunately karting is an extremely expensive sport and requires substantial funds. Currently Keaton is soley funded by his parents and grandparents and the costs are barely being met. Keaton is desperate for sponsorship for him to be able to sustain his passion and love for driving. “I want to be a Formula One driver and my role model is Lewis Hamilton. I’d like to be like him”. At only 11, Keaton’s CV has so far impressed and turned the heads of a lot of high-ranking people in motorsport. As a community I urge businesses and other organisations to support Keaton’s dream. Without the funds and sponsors, sadly this may not be possible. Be part of his journey in becoming the first ever British Asian Formula One driver.

To know more about Keaton’s racing journey, or to contact his father, Suki Samra, please visit: http://www.team-samra-racing.com/

Keaton Samra

My sporting journey – the passenger’s perspective!

This weekend one of our Future Champions ISHA Chhatwal won the Gillingham Golf tournament against a large number of entrants.  ISHA’s dad and co-founder of BASTF gives us an insight into how he has helped his daughter, a wonderful upcoming talented golfer, develop and flourish.

It has not been like the M25 – long and boring, but more akin to a stretch on the GT road into the Punjab – never straightforward, lots of dips and bumps, but extremely rewarding sights along the way as the journey unfolds.

From the onset my daughter demonstrated a very mature and calm personality. She had natural hand eye coordination and upper body strength – some of the essential instruments for many sports but especially the game of golf.

She excelled at many school sports such as netball and rounders, but it was my biased influence on Isha that steered her towards golf. I knew my passion for a particular sport would ease the burden of early starts and a dwindling bank balance! No offence but I couldn’t see myself getting up in the early hours of the morning to prepare for a ballet competition!

Even with this passion the journey has been arduous. The regimented schedule, daily golf lessons with some upto 2 1/2 hours away and the onus on the parents to set an example i.e losing weight and keeping fit! How can you preach to others if you don’t practise them yourself! But with specified and realistic goals being attained it has all been worth it.

Normally the only Indian child, let alone Indian girl, partaking in the competition, things can be intimidating and often brings attention amongst the existing members! However, I have always instilled in my children that sport is the platform to showcase your talents and breakdown age-old barriers and stereotypes. This philosophy has come true on so many occasions, with other golfers making the effort to congratulate her on an amazing shot or a tournament victory and often a bit of friendly banter at the bar afterwards with a drink bought by them!

I have enjoyed the trips made to tournaments and practice sessions as it has allowed me to spend quality time with the kids, talking and discussing everything golf. Visiting different clubs, learning the etiquettes of the game and be members of a local club has given them self-confidence and opportunities to converse with a variety of people of differing ages.

But it has all come at a price – it’s been very expensive. But then I ask the question – in real terms has it been? Well, you do the maths.

Keeping your children occupied in an activity that challenges them physically as well as mentally as opposed to sitting in front of the television or playing electronic games.

Socialising with like-minded people in a competitive environment as opposed to playing on the streets, unsupervised and prone to a multitude of sins.

Spending quality time and getting to really know your kids – amazing memories, funny moments, some lows but ultimately the best high you can get!

Huge Thanks to Davinder for sharing his thoughts on his journey so far.

An Insight into the “Hitman” Raj Hundal

Raj Hundal Shot

“….my dad told me son don’t be good but be great”

My father was a very good club Snooker player, he noticed my talent when I was 6 years old playing in my aunties restaurant where my cousin had a little table in the back store room and I also used to watch the likes of Alex Higgins and Jimmy White on TV and they inspired me greatly to be a cueist. My first game was Snooker and I was a World Class Junior but found American Pool when I was 17 years old and never looked back.

Q2My parents always supported me from a very young age and never put a limit on my imagination or potential, my dad told me son don’t be good but be great when I was only 7 years old. These words are still with me every time my hand touches a pool table and I hope they never leave me as long as I live.

Q3aI’m a very strong-minded individual and my mum used to say I was my own man before I was even a teenager, I had my heart set on doing something I would do it and failure was never an option. Luckily my mum and dad are far from narrow-minded and believed in me, this gave me further desire to succeed. I am very lucky to have the family I got, so loving and supportive.

Q4I won’t say I’m the best in the world but definitely I am among the world’s elite. There have been many issues I have had to overcome including moments of prejudice behaviour and acts against me as well as being politically held down for no reason and there was no one to help me or even listen to my argument. These acts made me work harder at my craft and only made me stronger, I’d like to thank the people who did this to me as they only poured petrol on fire and made me who I am today and when I see them now I’m nothing but nice to them as its them who must live themselves not me. Plus success is the best form of revenge, with success also comes a lawyer now that can’t really be beat so my words are now listened to by them with full attention naturally.

 

Q5The World Cup is a great event promoted by Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport, I always look forward to this event every year and my team has been getting stronger every year too in this event. Although the event was in London, team India had the most support by far as this is my home town. I represent India but still carry London on my back proudly, we are working on our events coming up this year and they will be in West London so expect a lot more glitz, glamour and fireworks. Also get your seats early as it will be a sold out show, especially when myself the ‘Hitman’ and ‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan go head to head.

Hitman with Ronniejpp_wcop2013_M23_holland_india_058

 

Q6There is no typical day in all fairness, but the state of mind is always to improve in ones sport and field. This is a physical and mental journey but it’s important to have time to relax and unwind, it is very important to know how to switch off and recharge the batteries so you don’t burn yourself out and then you can peak during performance and big matches.

Q7I’ve had many highs and lows in my career, my highest would be winning the World Pool Masters and my lowest would be when in 2007 the IPT tour folded in USA as they really gave us a huge platform to perform from and the prize monies were great unlike today’s Pool economy sadly. I realised one does not come without the other hence my team has now gone into promoting themselves to fix this mess, you can call me the Golden boy if you like as I will play and put the promoters suit on as well.

 

Q8Many things motivate me, my family and friends for example. Naturally money motivates me too, it’s nice to have some fame and respect also for your talents and hard work. Although the one thing that motivates me more than anything is leaving a real strong legacy behind, I want people to remember me for doing something great not only for myself and my close ones but for any and everyone I ever touched on my journey through life. If I ever motivated a little kid to get up and fulfil his or her dream then I really achieved something I feel. I have the power to do this and this is a great gift, it’s my job and duty to give others hope always.

 

Q9I have many like Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammed Ali  but my all time favourite has to be Roger Federer simply because he’s just so classy on and off the tennis court and oozes talent beyond belief. He has a great personality and everyone loves him, there’s no Nadal fans in my house.

Q10Shoot to Kill” – After all I am the Hitman

Q11Two tables were close in a tournament and when we break at high speeds we kick our back leg up for power, the guy behind me had accidently kicked me in between my legs,  I had to go sit in my chair for a while and take a long break, thank god he didn’t break anything though.

 

Q12The same advice id give to any kid, work hard as only hard work pays in the end. Shoot for the stars and if you miss you might land on the moon, either way you will be out of this world and higher than most could ever imagine.

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We at BASTF are exceptionally grateful to Raj Hundal for his time on answering our questions and giving our readers a fantastic insight into the world of Pool, his experiences and thoughts.  Follow Raj Hundal on twitter and keep up to date with upcoming events.

For more information on what’s going on in the world of Raj Hundal, please visit his website.

Thanks Raj.

LFC v ManU: Rivalries close to home this weekend!

Post - 01-09Anyone who knows the #BASTF team well, will know what a tight-nit group they are.  But for twice a year, for two league fixtures, co-founders Apinder and Davinder are very much on opposite sides. Put it this way, they don’t talk much if at all, why you ask?  Well both their teams go head to head this weekend, who will have the bragging rights until the Capital One cup meeting comes around?  Our co-founders have taken to the blog today to tell us why they think their team will win this blockbuster tomorrow.

Life long LFC fan – Apinder

“They have by far played the most attractive and attacking football, things are definitely on the up”. 

People will point to Liverpool’s extended (and battle-like) performance in the Capital One Cup v’s Notts County as a possible negative ahead of Sunday. What do I say to that? What a load of cobblers. I can’t believe for one minute the LFC players won’t be up for this game. These players are fit enough and the way they play their football, it will be ManU doing all the chasing anyway.

I expect another clean sheet for Liverpool in this blockbuster Premier League fixture, the majestic Coutinho will create havoc for the ManU defense, Sturridge will be explosive as ever, and for me will be this seasons top scorer.

I also expect Gerrard and Lucas to boss the midfield as always, even more so as ManU don’t actually have a midfield.

So it will be a triple wammy this weekend for LFC:

1. Beating their fierce rivals to the joy of the KOP
2. A bonus achievement over ex-Everton boss David Moyes
3. Celebrate Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday in style

My Prediction > 2 – 0 to the home side

“You will never walk alone”

Life long ManU fan – Davinder

Thank you for your kind rhetoric – words not wisely chosen and biased quotes that will soon become misquotes!
It’s a game of two halves
The first Relaxing with a cup of cha and a packet of oreos
The other half constantly nagging to change the channel!
Not an easy game against a Liverpool team that has claimed maximum points thus far. However, this is Man Utd, a team that produced an emphatic win against Swansea City, with Robin Van Persie and Danny Wellbeck continuing to produce goals worthy of the best of the season.
Wayne Rooney should retain his starting place after impressing on Monday, while Ashley Young could get the nod following his encouraging cameo.
Sturridge will no doubt pose a threat but i have the belief we are well equipped in our defensive line up to overcome any form of attack – Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra continue to star in the Fantastic Four!
I think my learned friend has forgotten the name that most United fans revere – Carrick – the heart of our team and a descendant of a worthy line of world-class midfielders that played for us. Too good for the ageing Gerrard and the force is with Carrick against Lucas!
It’s a massive game filled with mutual respect, but at the same time a passionate hatred for their bitter rivals. I think We’llbeck Man U for the win and leave the Liverpool fans with the resonating chant of championne as they walk home alone in shame!
My prediction 2-1  to Man Utd
Happy 100th birthday Bill
But your team no longer has the will
It will be us cutting the cake
As your hopes are fake
Van Persie and Wellbeck will be there to score
Your fans will cry – please Moyes No more!!!!!
Whoever wins this coming weekend, one thing is for sure, it will be back to business on a Monday morning!

A Catch up with Baljit Rihal, BASTF Ambassador

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In a “twitter-style” interview, BASTF Ambassador Baljit Rihal takes time-out to answer some questions, giving us an insight into what’s keeping him on his toes.

While people are jetting away this August on Summer holidays for a break, this is not the case for you.  How busy have you been?
Lots of projects going on. Primarily focusing on AFA preparations. Media interviews lined up – radio, tv, print..There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
How are preparations coming along for the AFA2013 event?
All on schedule. Nominations are being looked at and a shortlist will be revealed soon. We are working hard to reach out to Asians In Football across the country.
How will this year’s event differ from last year?
Bigger venue. More sponsors and supporters. More professional clubs have taken an interest. The AFA team has expanded with the addition of a marketing and event management team. It will be a more professional and polished event. We will also have the Barclays Premiership trophy on display..(with a dash of entertainment thrown in too)..
You have organised tournaments around the country ahead of AFA2013, how have these been received?
It’s been a resounding success and far exceeding expectations for our first AFA Trophy. Over 200 teams competed at regional Goals Centres. There has been a good buzz about the event over the summer and we are glad we attracted a wide range of teams.
The AFA Trophy finals take place on 18th August, what are you hoping for from the day?
It’s one week away.. I just hope teams come along; compete and enjoy the occasion. BritAsia TV will be filming the event and some scouts will be present on the day to see if they can spot some unearthed talent. All are welcome to attend the event, it will be a chance to see some good football and also meet some great people.
Can you give us an insight into what 2014 holds for you and team post AFA2013? 
Where do I start? Projects include The Asian Cricket Awards, The British Asian 11, Star TV India, another Football development centre. I will also be developing my football agency to a higher level working with established agents. I will be heading another initiative to get the Asians In Football cause to a greater platform…

A Big Thanks to Baljit from the BASTF team.

My Wife thinks I have Golfing turrets!

On Sunday 21st July the foundation delivered its first major event of the year, a Golf Day.  Mainly to raise money for a great charity, The Great Ormond Street Hospital, but to also raise awareness of Golf amongst the youth.  The event was a great success, with photo’s soon to be released on our Facebook page.  For now, get the “low down” of the day from one of the co-founders of BASTF and organisers of the event, Davinder Chhatwal.

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GOLF GOLF Day GOLF GOLF Day GOLF day……….. it’s the only thing on my mind.

Having never organised something like this before we arrived on Sunday with nervous trepidation. Continue reading

WOMEN’S SPORT TRUST LAUNCH: Every dream begins with a dreamer

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Jessica Ennis (Heptathlon – GOLD), Gemma Gibbons (Judo – SILVER), Laura Robson (Tennis – SILVER), Nicola Adams (Boxing – GOLD), Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins (Rowing – GOLD) – just some of a few inspirational women who are changing the landscape of women’s sport forever.  Now recognised as not only Olympic heroes, but real sporting legends.  Continue reading