London: Feisty Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was chosen 'Sikh Sportsperson of the Year' at the World Sikh Awards 2011 for his "contribution to the Indian cricket team's World Cup triumph".
Harbhajan, however, could not receive the award personally here as he was busy leading Mumbai Indians to the Champions League Twenty20 title.
The citation for him read, "Harbhajan Singh Plaha, born July 3, 1980 is a Professional Indian cricketer. A specialist bowler, he has the second highest number of Test wickets by an off-spinner. He is the 11th bowler in the history of Test cricket to claim 400 wickets. Harbhajan Singh was a major contributor to the Indian cricket team's victory during the World Cup."
Ironically, the honour comes at a time when Harbhajan has been dropped from the ODI team due to his poor form.
Dr Rami Ranger, MBE, won the Sikh Peoples Choice award for being a successful businessman who has been honoured five times by the Queen, four times for Business and once for services to the British Asian Community. He was made a Member of British Empire in 2005.
Ranger, who set up his first business in 1987 with a mere two pounds capital from a rented room in Hayes, today runs two of Britain's fastest growing companies with an annual turnover in excess of 120 million pounds.
Receiving the award, Dr Ranger thanked the Sikh Gurus "who liberated us".
"My mum who brought me up single handedly as my father was assassinated for opposing the partition of United India two months before I was born, to India for instilling right values, my wife for supporting me when I had nothing, to my staff for their loyalty and commitment and the UK for the British sense of fairness."
Other recipients of the awards were Sikh Air International (UK) (Sikhs in Charities), Simon Singh (UK) (Sikhs in Education), Mrs Gurmeet Kaur Sodhi (USA) (Sikhs in entertainment), Ravi Singh (USA) (Sikhs in Media), Kulvinder Singh Sihra (Kenya) (Sikhs in Seva) and Stephen Grosz (Special Recognition Award).
Grosz won the special recognition award for, over the years, often defended the rights of Sikhs and helped them to assert their identity.
Prof Kartar Singh ji was chosen for Sikh Lifetime Achievement award for his dedication to the kirtan music in its original form.
The World Sikh Awards were presented by the Sikh Directory. Navdeep Singh, founder of the Sikh Directory Ltd said the Sikh Awards promoted "the values and ethics of the Sikh community including excellence, elegance, loyalty and spirituality."