Friday night on the red carpet interviewing people I’ve been dying to meet wasn’t a bad way to start my weekend.
The Asian Achievers Awards, which celebrates the accomplishments of individuals from the South Asian community, was held in a dazzling ceremony in the lavish Grosvenor House Hotel.
In addition to this, guests dug deep and managed to raise an astonishing £180,000 for the event’s charity partner, Indian Ocean Disaster Relief, through auction.
Before the awards got under way I of course wanted a few words with the hosts of the night, actor Nitin Ganatra and editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Farrah Storr.
Without fangirling too much, I mustered up the ability to ask Nitin a few questions:
When probed as to why these awards were important to the community he added: ‘I think it’s good to celebrate the work that people in the community do. No one else is giving Asians awards, so let’s have Asians give Asians awards.’
Not going to lie my mind did go slightly blank and eyes very star struck but fellow blogger Natasha Kundi asked Nitin to give the younger generation a message:
Another person I wanted to meet more than Ganatra (sorry!) was Farrah Storr. Call it a journo thing but you can’t help but get excited at the thought of connecting with professionals in your field. A South Asian woman running Cosmopolitan is huge! And she continuously champions women too..
Of all the winners from the night, I was eager to speak to Ryan Raghoo, who won Sports Personality of the Year. Many have credited the Paralympic games as being even more exciting than the Olympics and I think part of that has to do with seeing how so many sportsmen and women have overcome hurdles that may have otherwise hindered others. Despite adversity, they’ve emerged victorious and thirsty for success.
‘I’ve never been nominated for an award before at all in my entire sporting career. Despite breaking British records, world records and winning gold at various sporting championships. I don’t do it for accolades but it is nice to receive some kind of recognition for what you have achieved.
‘This is a platform because and it’s an opportunity for me to say what I’ve spent my entire career saying and that is that things need to change. The reality is within the Asian community, for people with disabilities the understanding is very poor and in terms of integration and participation for people with disabilities from the Asian community, in wider sporting events like the Paralympics world championships, there simply isn’t enough. This is a good step in the right direction showing people there is someone doing something groundbreaking.’
I was pretty moved by Raghoo – he spoke so eloquently and succinctly about the current attitudes towards people who are disabled within this particular community. It struck a chord. Imagine everyday being a physical struggle as well as an emotional one with very little support and understanding from those around you. Thankfully Raghoo’s parents never gave up on him and with their support he’s emerged with a strong determination to raise awareness and change perceptions about disabled people – something he has my wholehearted support in.
FULL WINNERS LIST AT ASIAN ACHIEVERS AWARDS 2016
Businessperson of the Year
Mr. Nik Kotecha
CEO Morningside Pharmaceuticals
Entrepreneur of the Year
Mr. Selva Pankaj
CEO Regent Group
Sports Personality of the Year
Mr. Ryan Raghoo
Uniformed and Civil Services
PC Karmi Rekhi (Ms.)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Lord Naren Patel KT
Media, Arts and Culture
The Singh Twins
Award winning painters
Woman of the Year
Ms. Manjit Gill
CEO & Founder Binti, a Womens’ Charity
Achievement in Community Service
Ms. Zlakha Ahmed
CEO & Founder Apna Haq, a Women’s Charity
Professional of the Year
Jo Sidhu QC