In Dr. Arun Jain’s view, the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana’s inaugural Summer Games was a tremendous success.
“We initially wanted 16 teams for the men’s volleyball tournament, and within five days we were full,” said Jain, a Carmel resident who serves on the temple’s board of trustees.
Jain said 10 other teams wanted to sign up but the tournament was full.
Six women’s teams played a throwball tournament, a popular game in India where participants catch and throw the ball over a net, a little lower than a volleyball net, rather than hit it. Jain said there were approximately 200 participants and another 300 spectators Aug. 18-19 at the Indianapolis temple, 3350 N. German Church Rd.
Jain said the Summer Games allowed the temple to connect with members at a different level.
“We were able to engage them and bring them to the temple, which is really exciting,” Jain said. “We felt this is a great uniting force, and if we can keep offering events like this, we are going to keep our members and their kids coming back and finding the temple has value.”
Jain, who estimated more than 25 percent of the temple members are from Carmel, said the temple is considering building permanent courts for volleyball and throwball.
Carmel High School sophomore Rishma Chauhan played on a throwball team and helped coordinate the event.
“The other youth volunteers were very helpful, so it made it easy for me,” she said. “I had never played throwball before the tournament. Many players on the team I was on were champions on their high school teams (in India as youth), so I got good coaching and picked up the game quickly.”
Participants were ages 13 and older.
“Many kids under 13 came to practices and cheered teams on, like my sister,” Chauhan said. “The best part of the tournament was the finals and semifinals. All the teams were really good and the games were really intense. Also, the food was amazing.”
Zionsville Community High School senior Janaki Dave served as a volunteer organizer.
“There was a lot more youth involved because the goal in having these events is to raise money for the temple or the local charities but also to teach the younger generation how to organize and manage such events,” Dave said.