Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Meets Uganda’s Cricket Cranes

Ivan Sajjabi

The recent visit of the Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, Right Honorable Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, to Uganda during the 27th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Commonwealth countries (CSPOC2024) held a remarkable intersection of politics and sports. Amidst his packed schedule, the Speaker carved out time to pay a visit to the Cricket Cranes, a gesture that underscored the importance of sports diplomacy and collaboration across borders.

The delegation accompanying the Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka included Mr. Ruwan Jayarantyne, a Sri Lankan entrepreneur with significant business interests in Uganda.

Mr. Jayarantyne is the proprietor of the Serenity Group, overseeing the ownership of the prestigious Ceylon Lions Cricket Club, a prominent team in our top-tier league. Additionally, he holds ownership of the Serenity Oval cricket grounds at Kamengo, contributing significantly to the cricketing landscape in our region.

Upon arrival in Jinja, the speaker was warmly received by key representatives of the Uganda Cricket Association, including Mr. Jackson Kavuma, Mr. Waiswa Charles, Mr. Turinawe Davis, and Mr. Ogwang Jackson, alongside dignitaries from the East Enders Sports hub. Charles Waiswa, in extending a heartfelt welcome, emphasized Uganda’s Eastern region as a home away from home for the esteemed Speaker and good feature to tour like the source of river Nile.

He conveyed deep appreciation for the Speaker’s visit amidst his demanding schedule, acknowledging its significance in uplifting the morale of the cricket team.

Addressing the assembled national team players and representatives from East Enders, the Speaker commenced by lauding the Cricket Cranes for their recent qualification for the T20 World Cup.

His focus on fostering a robust partnership between Uganda Cricket and Sri Lanka Cricket Board underscored the potential for joint practice matches and tournaments in Sri Lanka, offering invaluable support to aid the Cricket Cranes in their World Cup preparations.

Expressing enthusiasm for the strides made by the Uganda Cricket Association, the Speaker highlighted the promising trajectory of cricket within the country.
Notably, this visit occurred following a meeting between the Speaker and the Prime Minister of Uganda, Right Honorable Robina Nabanjja, where they discussed matters of mutual interest between the two nations, emphasizing the shared enthusiasm for enhancing bilateral ties.

Rht Hon Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena in a meeting with the prime Minister of Uganda Rht Hon Robina Nabanjja

The Speaker’s engagement with Uganda’s cricketing community symbolizes the transcendent power of sports diplomacy, laying the groundwork for deeper collaboration between Sri Lanka and Uganda.

His expressed commitment not only enriches the sporting ties but also opens avenues for broader diplomatic and cultural exchange, fostering a stronger relationship between the two nations.

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