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Indian and Pakistani crowned Camp Ka Champ winners in Dubai

Pakistani Tayyab Tahir and Indian Deepak Sharma, both 25, representing Al Salam City, claimed victory in the labourers’ singing competition on Thursday night.
Deepak Sharma, 25, centre left, and Tayyab Tahir, 25, centre right, celebrate winning Camp Ka Champ at the Jiwin Staff Accommodation in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National
Deepak Sharma, 25, centre left, and Tayyab Tahir, 25, centre right, celebrate winning Camp Ka Champ at the Jiwin Staff Accommodation in Dubai. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // A raucous crowd greeted a catering supervisor and a restaurant supervisor’s victory in this year’s Western Union Camp Ka Champ final.

Pakistani Tayyab Tahir and Indian Deepak Sharma, both 25, representing Al Salam City, claimed victory in the labourers’ singing competition on Thursday.

They were watched by an audience of almost 4,000 workers, many of whom were bussed in from other labour camps, who cheered them on at the finals at the Jiwin compound in Sonapur.

“I can’t believe this has happened,” said Mr Tahir, a supervisor at a catering company.

“Even though we did a lot of practice, I wasn’t sure we would win it until the very end.”

Mr Sharma could barely contain his excitement.

“I’m so proud and happy that we have won and it feels like a dream.”

Victory did not come by chance. “We practised two hours every day for about three months,” said Mr Tahir, who moved to Dubai two years ago and decided to take part on a whim.

“I have always been a singer and thought I would see how good I could be and so put my name down for the competition.”

Mr Sharma, a Dubai resident for three years, now hopes this experience will help him realise his ambition of becoming a professional singer.

“Singing is something I have always loved to do and now with this win it’s given me more confidence and belief that I can do it.”

The winners each received Dh17,500 worth of gold, Dh4,000 in cash, return tickets home, widescreen televisions and other electronic goods.

This year, a singer of the season category for individuals was launched with the winner taking home Dh35,000 awarded by du.

Indian Mustakin Shaikh, 26, a technician for Voltas, was the winner.

“I always felt that I had talent and so decided to see how good I could be by taking part in this event,” he said.

His target is to become a professional singer in his homeland.

Now in its ninth year, Camp Ka Champ involved 24 companies from 100 camps, with about 4,500 people auditioning, the highest number yet.

Over the past three months, the pool was whittled down to the 48 semi-finalists.

The evening began with the semi-finals where the contestants split into teams of two, then down to four teams for the final.

The finalists had to perform Bollywood songs after hearing a short tune, and sing about a random object.

In the final round, they had to identify Bollywood stars and sing as many of their songs as possible in a minute.

Rupa Vinod, managing director of Right Track Advertising, which organised the competition, said: “Every year the standard keeps getting better and those taking part put more and more hard work into it.”

nhanif@thenational.ae

Updated: October 23, 2015 04:00 AM

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