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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

The wedding singer: Camp Ka Champ winner to use Dh35,000 prize to pay for marriage

Another talent show winner will give his Dh17,500 jackpot to his sister as a wedding present

Ijaz Khwaja is using his Dh35,000 jackpot to pay for his wedding in his native Pakistan. Satish Kumar for the National
Ijaz Khwaja is using his Dh35,000 jackpot to pay for his wedding in his native Pakistan. Satish Kumar for the National

The winner of a UAE talent competition has vowed that it will be a life-changer - as he gets set to use his Dh35,000 prize money to pay for a dream wedding.

Ijaz Khwaja, 30, is looking forward to wedded bliss after singing his way to success in the recent Camp Ka Champ, an annual showcase for workers which attracted a crowd of 4,000 to Dubai's Jebel Ali.

Mr Khwaja, who works as a collection agent for the Majid Al Futtaim credit card department in Dubai, said he will be using his prize money to help pay for his upcoming nuptials back in his native Pakistan.

“I have been a singer for a long time but I have never won a prize as big as this one,” he said.

“I have to give credit to everyone for their support.”

A large part of that support came from his family back home in Pakistan.

While they knew he had reached the final stages of the Singer of the Season part of the competition, they were in for a surprise when he returned back to see them last weekend.

“I flew back at 6am in the morning after the night of the final,” he said.

“They thought I was coming back just to work on the wedding celebrations and I did not tell them I had won.”

He said his family were delighted when he shared his good news.

“They celebrated all through the day and night with a huge party and barbecue.”

The Pakistani resident was not the only winner on the night as Indian duo Suheb Abdulrazak and Krishna Devkumargond shared a prize of Dh35,000 worth of gold between them at the 12th edition of the event.

Suheb Abdulrazak also had marital matters in mind as he is going to give his Dh17,500 share of the prize to his sister back home in India.

“My sister is getting married soon back in India so I think the Dh17,500 would make a suitable gift for her,” he said.

Mr Abdulrazak, 25, works in Ras Al Khaimah for Emirates Stevedoring.

His day job involves loading and unloading cargo from ships but singing has always been his first love.

“Over the years I have spent a lot of time working as a singer. I would perform at various events including weddings,” he said.

“I have always been passionate about singing but I never imagined I would win something like this, even in my wildest dreams.”

He said that he hopes his success will act as a platform for him to go on and pursue a full-time singing career.

Like many people who come to the UAE to find work, Mr Abdulrazak said that he had to make many difficult sacrifices to reach this point.

“I had a girlfriend back home when I first moved,” he said.

Suheb Abdulrazak and Krishna Devkumargond struck gold after sharing a Dh35,000 prize for their singing talents. Satish Kumar for the National
Suheb Abdulrazak and Krishna Devkumargond struck gold after sharing a Dh35,000 prize for their singing talents. Satish Kumar for the National

“We tried to make it work but the distance was too much and, in the end, my heart was broken.”

Krishna Devkumargond, who shared the Dh35,000 in gold prize with Mr Abdulrazak, has only been in the UAE for two months and had never entered any type of singing competition before taking part in Camp Ka Champ.

Mr Devkumargond, 25, a pipe fabricator for Emirates Stevedoring in Ras Al Khaimah, said he is still pinching himself after his success.

“It is a dream to have been on such a great stage, to actually win it is incredible,” he said.

“I want to thank my company and mentor for all their help in this success.”

The organisers told Mr Devkumargond they could not believe how great his voice was during the audition process.

“They said that I sounded exactly like Kumar Sanu. To be compared to such an iconic Indian singer is so humbling.”

The two winners, of the antaksahri competition for teams of two, said their success was in no small part due to the efforts of their colleague Ahamed Sulaiman, welfare and corporate social responsibility officer with Emirates Stevedoring.

“He was our coach and mentor and kept us on our toes,” said Mr Abdulrazak.

“He even made us rehearse our singing in the car on the way to work every day.”

The annual competition, which is sponsored by Du and Western Union, attracted more than 4,000 entries from all across the UAE.

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Read more:

Pakistani and Indian singers celebrate success at Camp Ka Champ 2018

Indian and Pakistani crowned champions of Camp Ka Champ 2015

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