There were roars of celebration as a Pakistani collection agent won the first prize of Dh35,000 in cash at the annual Camp Ka Champ in Dubai on Thursday.
Ijaz Khwaja, 30, who works as a collection agent for Majid Al Futtaim, was named as singer of the season at the competition.
Mr Khwaja captured the hearts and minds of up to 4,000 people who had been bussed in from across the UAE for the show, at the Nuzul Property compound in Dubai’s Jebel Ali.
“I feel incredible. I rehearsed every morning and didn’t feel any pressure until I was singing in the final,” said Mr Khwaja, who had the crowd up on their feet dancing throughout his performances on the night.
“I am honoured and humbled to win this award, and it is such an amazing feeling.”
Mr Khwaja was not alone on the winners’ podium, as two Indian colleagues walked off with Dh35,000 worth of gold for their success in the antaksahri competition, which tested knowledge and speed as well as singing ability.
That prize was shared between Suheb Abdulrazak, 25, and Krishna Devkumargond, 25, who work as a tele clerk and a pipe fabricator, for Emirates Stevedoring in Ras Al Khaimah.
“This is the best moment of my life,” said Mr Abdulrazak.
“I am a singer, and I have been working here for the last four years, but I could never have dreamed to have a stage like this in front of so many people.”
The two winners put their success down to the efforts of their colleague Ahamed Sulaiman, welfare and CSR officer with Emirates Stevedoring, who they described as a coach and a mentor.
“He kept the pressure on us and showed us the way,” said Mr Abdulrazak.
“It has certainly paid off now.”
Indian and Pakistani crowned champions of Camp Ka Champ 2015
Rupa Vinod, managing director of event organisers Right Track Advertising, could not have been happier with how the evening unfolded.
“It means so much to the people to be able to show everyone they have dreams and aspirations too,” she said.
It was a privilege to organise the event, which had 4,000 entries in the UAE, she said.
“We wanted to showcase their talent to the world and I think we have done that tonight.”