The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 ticket and mascot launch was held at the Colombo Hilton amongst a large gathering. Visitors were first ushered into the foyer via a replica entrance to the Kings Palace of the Dambadeniya era. Guests had the opportunity to view photographs of the past glories of the World Cup starting with the inauguration year of 1975 to 2007.
Guests were given a unique opportunity to re-visit the score cards of all the World cup games through a touch system technology on four different touch system screens. A special photography corner tagged as the red carpet was available for instant photographs for all individuals and groups wishing to be photographed with the unique ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 back drop. A framed photograph free of charge was made available to each individual who had their photographs taken at the red carpet corner after the function. The 1996 World Cup trophy won by Sri Lanka was on display at the foyer. The interior of the foyer area was unique dating back to the pre colonial era.
The main function got underway after lighting of the oil lamp. The seating arrangements and the stage used for the function was an state of the art set up. A video clipping of the past nine world cup tournaments hosted by England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and the Indian Sub-continent was displayed in a nut shell with rare footage. World Cup Secretariat of Sri Lanka had organized a mini documentary promoting Sri Lanka’s World Cup venues and the tourist attractions in Sri Lanka with glimpses of our history in Cricket, dating back to the colonial era.
The distinguished guests all stood up when his Excellency the President Honorable Mahinda Rajapakse entered the hall to grace the launch. Chairman Sri Lanka Cricket D.S.De Silva made a fascinating welcome address in which he thanked his Excellency for his support. In a well thought out speech Mr. De Silva spoke of a country free of war and terrorism after three decades. He rightfully thanked his Excellency for paving the way and bringing in peace. It was heartening to note when he stated that not only in Cricket that you need an astute leader, but a leader like His Excellency Honorable Mahinda Rajapaksa stands tall for his brave effort of defeating terrorism by ushering in peace which has helped our country to host a peaceful World Cup. Chairman Sri Lanka Cricket in his eloquent speech made mention that it was due to his Excellency the President, Sri Lanka can boast of being one of the safest places in the World, free from war and terrorist attacks.
Under the guidance of His Excellency a special edition by the ICC in collaboration with UNICEF” Cricket for disadvantaged Children” was also screened.
Man of the Final in the 1996 World Cup Aravinda De Silva did the honors by unveiling on how where and when to purchase tickets for the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, on a touch screen.
Four important personalities namely ICC President Mr.Sharad Pawar, CEO ICC Haroon Logart, Tournament Director COC Professor Ratnaka Shetty and Secretary Sri Lanka Cricket Mr. Nishantha Ranathunga took center stage and answered some pertinent questions revolving around the big event.
The Mascot, a playful baby Elephant was launched in grand style, the ICC cricket World Cup 2011 trophy was brought to the center stage by a lady in an ancient princes attire accompanied by Kandyan dancers and was handed over to the Honorable Minister of Sports and Recreation Mr. Gamini Lokuge and Chairman Sri Lanka Cricket D.S.de Silva, who in turn positioned the glittering trophy on center stage, on a special podium.
The much awaited ceremonial handing of the first World Cup ticket to His Excellency the President by ICC Vice President Sharad Pawar caught the eye of the media who got very busy clicking their camera’s , since this was the most historic moment in the agenda.
The function was rated as one of the best in the region. The entertainment was somber and cultural; the performance despising the king and the maidens in the Sigiriya frescos by the Channa group of dancers was a unique display of our talent in the field of art and dance.
To the organizers take a bow accept your bouquet for a job well done.