But Patel, who runs Bombay Republicans — a sports club founded in 1978 and has churned out a list of Olympians and internationals including Viren Rasquinha, Adrian D’Souza, Gavin Ferreira, Jude Menezes, Cornelius D’Costa, Yuvraj Valmiki, etc — is anything but a layman in the ever-so-diminishing world of Mumbai hockey.
Besides training youngsters for his club, Bawa also coaches the Children’s Academy (Malad) and Our Lady of Dolours (Marine Lines) school teams — both of whom have emerged as powerhouses in Mumbai schools hockey that has till date been ruled by the Don Boscos and St Stanislaus’ of the city. It is this relentless contribution towards the national game that has earned Bawa the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai (SJAM). SJAM will felicitate Bawa, among other top sportspersons (2012-13) belonging to Maharashtra (excluding Vidarbha region), at the Cricket Club of India’s CK Nayudu Hall on Sunday.
Bawa was ecstatic on learning about the award. “The SJAM award to me is bigger than the Dronacharya Award because it is identified by sports journalists and not politicians or bureaucrats, who know nothing about sport. “Whatever I am today is because of the publicity and support my hardwork has received from these sports journalists, who sweat it out just like most of us coaches and players across the various maidans of the city,” Bawa told MiD DAY.