Australian High Commission Media Release:
The Australian High Commission kicked off the ICC Cricket World Cup countdown yesterday (10th February) with the launch of the “Reconciliation through Sports” cricket tournament.
The Hon Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation was Chief Guest at the event which was held at R. Premadasa Stadium.
The Sports for Reconciliation cricket tournament, implemented by ZOA Sri Lanka, brings together 18 village-level youth teams from the Northern and Eastern Provinces representing all communities.
The tournament will be played in a knock-out format with the grand final held at Mullaitivu in March 2015. The tournament aims to bring the excitement and spirit of the ICC Cricket World Cup to these communities, while also promoting social cohesion, dialogue, reconciliation and new friendships.
Speaking at the launch, Australian High Commissioner, HE Robyn Mudie said,
“Sport plays an important role promoting social cohesion and uniting communities. For Australia and Sri Lanka, the shared love of the game has contributed to the strengthening of friendship between our countries. We hope that this tournament will facilitate new friendships between communities.”
Minister Ranatunga said, “I would like to thank the Australian High Commission and ZOA for doing this. It’s very important to play the game with every citizen in the country. That is something we are promoting… how to get north and south together. We can do that through sports.”
Guido de Vries, Country Director, ZOA Sri Lanka, said, “Sport has the power to be a universal language, it has a unique capacity to unite people, going beyond ethnic, religious or social differences. Cricket in Sri Lanka has already proven it can achieve this. This Cricket tournament will cut across barriers that divide societies, making it a powerful tool to support conflict prevention and peace-building efforts”.