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Inaugural International Cricket Tournament takes swing in Fredericton

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The Multicultural Association of Fredericton hosted the first ever International Cricket Tournament at the Grant Harvey Centre as part of the Cultural Expressions Festival 2024.

“It’s a very exciting moment for all of us,” says event coordinator Haruka Kudo. “We have brought all of the community together to play cricket, which is center to their hearts as they grew up playing it back at home.”

The tournament featured seven teams from five countries including a pair of women’s teams from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. The two countries also had male teams playing in the tournament, along with Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.

Part of the goal behind the tournament was to further build bridges between cultures through the global sport, and the enthusiasm could be felt as the crowd sat on every throw and swing.

“It’s all about Canadian multiculturalism,” says Kudo. “Everybody has a right to play sports, and this game is not about the sports. It’s about bringing the community together to build our friendships and close cultural relationships.”

Mohammed Munim is the captain of the Bangladesh team and says the weekend has also served as a great opportunity to showcase the sport in a real venue, noting games are normally played outside in a park whenever they can find space.

Based on the inaugural tournaments success, he is hopeful to see the sport grow in his community so more teams will be available to play in next year’s tournament.

“If we have enough visibility and like communication we can get a few more nations and it would be great,” says Munim. “Next year if we can increase by two more teams it would be great.”

The sentiment is echoed by Afghanistan captain Massomzai.

“Next year we hope it will be more counties like maybe Pakistan and Syria can join,” says Massomzai. “We also hope there is more support for female teams to come and play here.”

Munim says the sport is at an all time high in the county, pointing to the fact Canada is currently taking part of the Cricket World Cup.

In Fredericton specifically he says there is limited availability to start an official indoor cricket league, on top of the high costs to rent a facility. He says the added eyes on the sport will hopefully lead to some discussion on striking a deal with the city for a rental time slot.

“If the city could help a little bit there we could have this on a weekly basis,” Munim believes. “Let’s say we have three hours every weekend it would be nice as everyone can join and play and we could have new players come out as well.”

“It’s very good for all young generations,” Massomzai agrees. “Especially for Afghan generations because they came from a very different society but here all is good and all is welcomed here.”

“We have indoor tennis facilities but not indoor cricket,” says Munim. “If we have more facilities I think we can go further in growing the sport here.”

Organizers have already committed to hosting the tournament again next year.

While the tournament is a part of the Cultural Expression Festival 2024, the main portion of the festival festivities will take place June 22 at the Capital Exhibition Centre. The one day event will feature a wide range of performances from different nationalities, on top of a verity of cultural food vendors and exhibits.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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