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Bhavsar Begins New Role as Athletic Ambassador
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2008 Olympic bronze medalist Raj Bhavsar (U.S.) said he is thrilled over his recent South Asian Excellence Award, and remains committed to being an ambassador of sport for India, host of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Bhavsar, a first-generation Indian-American of Gujarati descent, received the award Saturday night at a gala held in New York City. The South Asian Excellence Awards, first established in 2008, honor distinguished South Asians in several categories, such as business, entertainment, science, literature and sports.

"It is a tremendous honor to win an award of this magnitude!" Bhavsar told IG. "It truly shows how much support I have had over the years from my fans and the entire South Asian community. I hope this award and my recent accomplishment at the Olympics serve as an inspiration for young Indian-American athletes throughout the country."

The other two nominees in the sports category were professional golfer Simi Mehra and cricket player Neerja Patel.

"I was a little surprised to win given the other nominees' accolades in the category of sports," Bhavsar said. "All the nominees at the event were very accomplished so it was nice to be honored and especially great that the South Asian community recognized my accomplishments in a not-so-common sport among South Asians."

Bhavsar was a member of the silver medal-winning U.S. teams at the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. He served as alternate to the U.S. team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and four years later helped the team to an upset bronze at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Bhavsar graduated from Ohio State University in 2004 with a degree in business administration and marketing, and continues to train in his hometown of Houston.

He is planning on competing in the Moscow Stars World Cup, May 29-30. He then heads to India on June 1 for a 10-day trip, where he hopes his fame can bring awareness to Olympic sports, including gymnastics.

"India may provide some opportunities for me that are not readily available in the U.S. right now, given the tough times," said Bhavsar, who turns 29 in September. "I am looking forward to visiting with the Indian Olympic Federation and the Gymnastic Federation of India to discuss my involvement leading up to the Commonwealth Games."

Delhi will play host to the XIX Commonwealth Games, scheduled for Oct. 3-14, 2010. It will be the largest multisport event ever held in India, with athletes from 85 teams competing in 17 sports.

"I would love to work with the gymnastics teams in India to prepare them for a breakthrough performance at the games," Bhavsar said. "I am looking into a sports commentator position for the event."

Bhavsar's big goal for the Moscow World Stars is to hit an original skill on parallel bars, and possibly one on still rings.

"It's a hybrid between a Tkatchev on high bar and a Tippelt on p-bars," he said. "I think it's revolutionary in that it could open a new form of thinking regarding release moves on p-bars. The move on rings is still being discussed as to whether or not I will compete it. It's a rendition of my existing skill called the Bhavsar, or a Pineda to Maltese."

Gymnastics fans can get updates from Bhavsar via his Twitter account,

External Link: 2010 Commonwealth Games

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