The 2016 Murali Harmony Cup will be launched on 20th September, organisers confirmed on Thursday.
The Murali Cup is a reconciliation cricket tournament that promotes unity, goodwill, teamwork, the spirit of fair play and service to disadvantaged rural communities in post-war Sri Lanka.
The tournament is organised by former Sri Lanka cricketer Muthiah Muralidaran’s charity the Foundation of Goodness with assistance from the Sri Lanka Army.
The 5-day event featuring U19 schoolboys and U23 women cricketers is being played at five grounds across Northern Sri Lanka in the towns of Jaffna, Oddusuddan, Mankulam and Kilinochchi.
This year’s tournament is the fifth edition since the inaugural event in 2012, and includes a total of 24 teams meaning a total of 360 cricketers, most from disadvantaged rural schools from across the island.
“It is a proud moment for me to see the 5th consecutive edition of the Murali Harmony Cup take place in the North as it continues to foster friendship and unity between communities from all across the island,” tournament founder Muralidaran told the media.
“I wish all the players the best and hope they will enjoy the new experiences that this tournament will bring.”
The tournament is funded exclusively by sponsorship and private donations with Arinma Holdings being the main sponsors of this year’s tournament.
“Arinma Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, is proud to be associated with such a noble venture, one which has seen the participation of thousands of enthusiastic cricketers in a tournament that bridges all racial, ethnic and social divide,” said Ashan Malalasekera, Chairman of Arinma Holdings. “Along with an increase in participation, this very special 5th Edition, has seen a tremendous development of peace building, reconciliation and friendship in the North and South that has brought about a strong social harmony in our nation.”
Other key sponsorship partners include Fortune, Tokyo Cement, MAS, Access, Sri Lanka Sports Association of Queensland (SLSAQ) and Subway.
Sri Lankan cricket legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena have once again played a key role in ensuring that this year’s tournament goes ahead.
“It is tremendous to the see the tournament, which was launched in 2011 as a just a one off, has gone on to been so successful and establish itself as an annual fixture in the Sri Lanka cricket calendar,” Sangakkara said.
“It has helped me personally to understand that behind the competitive spirit, fellow cricket players from all walks of life both young and old and of different skill levels share the same passion for a sport which can bring us together to achieve greater things as a community, both on and off the pitch.”
Jayawardena added: “It is important to ensure that the youth of the country from all areas get a chance to develop their talent and potential. The Murali Harmony Cup is a tournament that I am very proud to be a part of as it showcases some of the best talent we have in the island while also promoting goodwill and harmony. “
About the Murali Harmony Cup
The 2016 Murali Harmony Cup is being played at five grounds across Northern Sri Lanka in the towns of Jaffna, Oddusuddan, Mankulam and Kilinochchi from 21st to 25th September. It is a reconciliation and community-building T20 cricket tournament featuring U19 schoolboys and U23 women cricketers designed to promote unity, goodwill, teamwork, the spirit of fair play and service to disadvantaged rural communities. 16 boys’ teams and 8 ladies’ teams from across Sri Lanka are playing two matches every day at each ground, with the finals taking place on 25th September at the Kilinochchi Central cricket grounds.
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