Canada's top bank bats for nation's cricket
Toronto, Jan 14 (IANS) Cricket in Canada got a major boost Tuesday when Scotiabank, the nation's top bank, and the sports governing body Cricket Canada launched a national school programme to promote the sport.
Launched in the Indian-dominated city of Abbotsford near Vancouver, the Cricket Canada-Scotiabank School Programme (CCSSP) will promote cricket among elementary school children across Canada.
The bank said the programme will soon extended to elementary schools in the Vancouver area, Calgary and the Toronto area.
Canadian national team players, coaches and Cricket Canada CEO Atul Ahuja were present at the official launch of the programme at Eugene Reimer Middle School in Abbotsford to demonstrate the sport to students.
Launching the programme, Scotiabank vice president (multicultural banking) Rania Llewellyn said: 'The popularity of cricket in the UK, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Guyana and the West Indies has carried over into several of Canada's multicultural communities.
'Scotiabank is very pleased to partner with Cricket Canada to offer this new complimentary programme to elementary schools in Canada.
'Through this programme, we look forward to introducing the game of cricket to a new generation of players while instilling teamwork and interpersonal skills that will last a lifetime.'
Ahuja said: 'Cricket in Canada dates back to the 1700s. Today, ranked 15th in the world, Canada is on its way to becoming an international powerhouse in the cricket arena.'
Thanking the bank, he said: ' In 2008 alone, Scotiabank's sponsorship made it possible for Cricket Canada to host the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland and Bermuda in several international tournaments.'
The Indian-born CEO said the bank's support for the sport at the school level will help popularise cricket in Canada.
Under the programme, the bank will arrange training camps and distribute special equipment designed for school children and information on cricket.
After the initial training session, Cricket Canada will provide follow-up support to the schools under the programme.
Cricket Canada, which was set up in 1892 under the name of the Canadian Cricket Association, is the sport's governing body in this country.
Last year, it signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with Scotiabank to make it the national sponsor and official bank of cricket in Canada.
Cricket, which was Canada's official sport more than 150 years ago, was again recognised as a national sport by the Canadian government last year.
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