By John L. Aaron
A proud young man Imdad Khan stood tall on the stage at the Anthony Genovise Center at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York this past summer to accept the 2010-2011 NYC Public Schools Athletic League’s Wingate Award as the PSAL’s outstanding cricketer of the year.
The very articulate youth cricketer thanked his parents, coach and team members, attributing his achievement to all of them, while expressing his passion for the game of cricket.
The Aviation Career & Tech Education High School graduate has represented his alma mater for four years at the sport of cricket, never missing a single match. As a “founding member” of the sport at the Long Island City, NY high school, Imdad helped shape the introduction of the sport at the school, while helping to navigate the institution to a Division Championship in 2010. The honor student dream is to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering.
Under the watchful eyes of cricket coach Wesley Henry while at Aviation High, Imdad was as impressive on the cricket field as he was in the classroom. Coach Henry remarked, “He is a model student-athlete who worked hard in and out of the classroom. Personally, I often consider him an example of what a father’s son should exemplify.”
The right-handed batsman was impressive enough in the two areas of concentration resulting in his capturing the top athlete award in the category of Spring sports at the 40th Annual Wingate Awards ceremony. Held every year to recognize the top athletes in the PSAL’s 38 co-ed sport categories, the recognition is reserved only for those student-athletes who have distinguished themselves on and off the field of sports.
Ironically, Imdad Khan was born in the USA to Shameer and Bebi Khan, immigrants from the South American cricketing-playing nation of Guyana. He was accompanied at the awards by his dad Shameer, mother Bebi Naseema, his sister Sabeena, and his uncle Maurice Brady. Lending congratulatory support was PSAL Cricket Commissioner Bassett Thompson and yours truly.
Although not exposed to the sport in the country of his parents‘birth, Imdad has been drawn to the sport as an all-rounder, despite many other varsity sports available at his high school. He modestly claims that cricket is simply a hobby for him, but it is easy to understand since his focus seems to be laser sharp on obtaining a degree in Business Management, while pursuing his career choice of aeronautical engineering. He remarked, “I would like to become part of a management team in the aeronautical engineering business, and having a degree in business management would be a plus to my engineering experience.”
The eighteen-year old high school student is currently gaining some valuable hands-on experience at British Airways at the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. Selected as one of only 24 students from a graduating class of 400, a very shy Imdad acknowledged that it was an honor to be one of 150 students doing the fifth year aviation high school program and being amongst the 24 now interning with various airlines at the busy JFK airport in New York.
With an academic average of almost 90, Imdad also serves as a community service volunteer at his high school, participating in such activities as canned food drives, Penny Harvest, and the recent Haiti Relief effort.
The New York City PSAL cricket program is now entering its fifth year, and attracted 26 city high school teams during its 2011 season, up from 14 teams in its inaugural year 2008. The number of high schools participating this year is expected to climb past last year’s 26, providing funds are made available by the New York City Department of Education. The program organized under the leadership of PSAL Executive Director Donald Douglas, Assistant Administrator Lorna Austin, Commissioner Bassett Thompson, and Assistant Commissioner Ricky Kissoon, has made a significant impact in the cricketing community in the New York area.
Attracting almost 400 cricketers per season, mainly the offspring of immigrants from cricket-playing countries the PSAL program launched in 2008 has also attracted significant media coverage in the metropolitan area, touting cricket as an alternative sport to the myriad of sports offered under the auspices of the PSAL.
For a full listing of the 2011 Wingate award recipients click here – http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/mediarelations/NewsandSpeeches/2010-2011/wingateawardsrelease61311.htm