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Adnan Virk Joins ESPN

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

adnanvirk_061509 Pakistani-Canadian Adnan Virk joined the ESPN network of programming in April of this year as an on-air sports news anchor. He was previously an anchor for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s Raptors NBA TV, Leafs TV, and Gol TV. Until June of 2009 he hosted several programs on The Score in Canada, and was previously an associate producer for Sportscentre at TSN. He has also been the co-host of Omniculture and Bollywood Boulevard at Omni Television in Canada.

Adnan, age 32, is the younger of the two sons of Zakaria and Taherah Virk who relocated to Toronto from Lahore, Pakistan in 1972. Adnan was born in Toronto, but spent his formative years in Morven, Ontario, a small town just outside of Kingston, where his father owned and operated Zak’s Variety Store for 6 years. After graduating from high school, he took radio and television arts at Ryerson University.

In 2007 Virk hired an agent who soon secured for him an interview at the self-described “Worldwide Leader In Sports” ESPN (Entertainment & Sports Programming Network). So Virk drove the 10 hours to Bristol, Connecticut for his interview. Virk impressed his interviewers but was victimized by a hiring-freeze at the Disney-owned network. “The ESPN guy told my agent afterwards, ‘If I had an opening, I’d hire him tomorrow,’” he told the Ontario Whig Standard.

He subsequently returned to Toronto and to his duties at The Score Television Network, where he’d worked since 2003. He made a follow-up call to ESPN in June of 2009, but there were still no openings. He then left The Score and accepted a job with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, hosting ice hockey on Leafs TV and basketball on Raptors TV.

Finally, in February of this year, ESPN had two on-air positions open up. Virk estimated that there were 50 to 100 applicants. That list was whittled down to 6 candidates who were flown to Connecticut for one final audition and interview. Virk and a woman from Washington, D.C. were the only ones hired. Virk currently can be seen as an on-air sports anchor on ESPN News.

Adnan and his wife, Eamon, have a son, Yusuf, age 2. They currently live in Bristol, Connecticut, where ESPN headquarters is located. Virk acknowledges himself as a practising Muslim and would appear to be the network’s first Muslim anchor. “If I am the first,” he stated, “it’ll be neat being a trailblazer.”


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