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Rugby League Cup, a tribute to rage victim

Rugby League enthusiasts and families and friends of Tarun Asthana will pay homage to the young man with a Memorial Cup Tournament in November next year.

Details of the event are being finalised but emotions will continue to run high as the community remembers in helpless state a fine young man who fell a victim to a mindless rage, believed to be alcohol-related.

Fine young man

As reported in our November 15, 2013 issue, 25-year-old Tarun, a resident of Mt Albert, was knocked to the ground outside a fast food outlet near Britomart in Auckland’s Central Business District shortly after 5 am on November 3.

“Tarun died in Auckland Hospital at about 1130 am on November 4. He was surrounded by family and friends at the time of his death and had been on a life support system since he was allegedly assaulted by a 27 year-old naval rating man,” Rakesh Naidoo, an Inspector of New Zealand Police told us in an email message.

Grenville David McFarland (27) is facing charges of assault.

The New Zealand Herald said that the Auckland District Court denied name suppression to the accused, rejecting an application submitted by his lawyer John Corby, stating that the defendant’s 80-year-old grandmother was not in good health.

Mr Corby also objected to media reports that characterised the attack as a ‘brutal assault’ on Mr Asthana, saying that was not a fair description.

Hundreds of men and women offered prayers at the mass held for Tarun (a teacher trainee and part time DJ) on November 9 at Catholic Church of Christ the King (Richardson Road) in Mt Roskill.

Emotive appeal

Nic Singh is organising the ‘Arun Asthana Memorial Cup’ tournament as a tribute to the deceased young man.

“I did not know Tarun but I was compelled to do something that will keep the memory of the young man alive. I therefore decided to conduct the annual tournament in his name, also to encourage young men to play Rugby League,” he said.

Mr Singh said that as he learnt more about Tarun, he was filled with amazement and admiration.

“The Tournament is being organised with the guidance and help of New Zealand Rugby League and New Zealand Fiji Rugby League. The matches will be held in Auckland, with four teams, accounting for more than 100 players. We will announce further details including the venue in due course,” he said.

According to Mr Singh, three teams (Mt Roskill Central Lions, Guardianz and Manukau Mustangs) compete every year for the ‘Radio Tarana Rugby League Cup.’

Indian interest

“Counties Manukau Piranhas, a new team (comprising Indians, Chinese, Cambodians, Filipinos and ‘Half-Indians’ with Polynesian ethnicities), has joined the contest.

“Rugby League is not common among Indians, because it is an intensely physical and dangerous sport. However, it builds self-confidence and self-discipline. It is only in the past five years that Auckland has seen the rise of the sport among people of Indian origin,” Mr Singh said.

He said that there was immense potential for Rugby League.

“A majority of our young men evince interest in soccer, hockey and cricket, but not in Rugby or Rugby League. We must therefore make a beginning and the forthcoming Tournament will hopefully encourage more Indians to play the game,” he said.

Those interested may contact Nic Singh on 021-333327.

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