NEW YORK, N.Y., May 10, 2009 – 2008 Olympic team bronze-medalist Raj Bhavsar of Houston was named as the receipient of the South Asian Excellence Award for sports at a black-tie gala in the Grand Ballroom of Cipriani’s Hotel in New York City on May 9.

Bhavsar helped the U.S. men win the team bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Bhavsar, an alternate on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, was initially an alternate to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, but was named to the squad after Paul Hamm withdrew due to an injury. He was a member of the 2001 U.S. World Championships Team that earned an unprecedented silver medal, and he helped the U.S. men defend that medal at the 2003 World Championships. He is the 2002 NCAA all-around champion and won the 2001 NCAA team title as a member of the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team. Bhavsar competed in the Tyson American Cup in 2007-08. He graduated from Ohio State University with a major in business administration/marketing in 2004.

The South Asian Excellence Awards include science, entertainment, technology, social service, performing and visual arts, business, literature and sports. A special award was given to a Young Achiever demonstrating excellence in their field, one for South Asian Personality of the Year, a Lifetime Achiever award, and a new award this year, Good Earth, to a person whose life is aimed at protecting the environment. A panel of four judges – Vijay Amritraj, Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya, Ketan Gandhi and Karim Rammal – decided the winners, who were announced at the dinner.

This gala featured some of the world’s top international South Asian entertainers from India, the United Kingdom and the United States. The evening’s activities were broadcast in more than 150 countries on Sony Entertainment Television. Nominations were made through the SET web site.