Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cup final reprieve from S.Lanka tensions

Sri Lanka's appearance in Saturday's cricket World Cup final offers a rare if fleeting moment of unity for a nation that remains deeply fractured despite the end of its decades-old ethnic conflict.
President Mahinda Rajapakse, who will attend the final against India in Mumbai, has promoted the game as a symbol of reconciliation following his government's final victory over Tamil Tiger rebels nearly two years ago.

"Sports has been a uniting factor and cricket has been in the forefront of bringing communities together," the president told foreign correspondents in Colombo just before Sri Lanka's semi-final victory over New Zealand on Tuesday.
Rajapakse has spent lavishly to build new cricket venues, and local newspaper editors said they had been warned against publishing anything that would demoralise players ahead of the final.
He has also taken pains to highlight the role of world record wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan, the only ethnic Tamil member of the Sri Lankan squad, who will retire from international cricket after the competition.
"The president wants us to win the World Cup as a tribute to Murali," Rajapakse's spokesman Bandula Jayasekera told AFP.

 Courtesy : AFP

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