The spectacular opening ceremony of the 15th Asian Junior Team Championships took place at the exotic Mount Lavinia Hotel by the bay in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
11 Asian member countries with 11 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams witnessed the 90 minute long ceremony that was filled with speeches, delightful dances by the Sri Lankan Air force and distribution of special awards.
The chief guest for the occasion was the world record holder spinner Muthiah Muralitharan, the highest test wicket taker of all time.
The President of the World Squash Federation Mr. N. Ramachandran declared the event open. Seated next to each other on the high table, the cricket ledged with the squash ‘boss’ was indeed a sight to behold. The highlight of the night however was when Mr. Ramachandran was bestowed the title of ‘Friend of Sri Lankan Squash’.
The iconic Sri Lankan Muthiah Muralitharan did the honours of presenting this prestigious award to a delighted Mr. Ramachandran. Mr. Ramachandran’s wife, children and close relatives seated at the main table beamed with pride.
In recognizing Mr. Ramachandran contributions to SL squash, Mr. Oliver Guruge, President SL Squash highlighted the benevolence of Mr. Ramachandran and the numerous other ways he has supported them, which included the provision of coaching and refereeing services. He concluded by saying SL squash were indeed honoured to confer the title ‘Friend of Sri Lankan Squash’ to Mr. N. Ramachandran.
In his response Mr. Ramachandran thanked SL squash for the special award and said he was humbled by this presentation. He reiterated that he always felt that SL and India shared a cordial relationship and the feeling of friendship was mutual.
Mr. Ramachandran complimented SL for their efforts over all these years, which has produced remarkable results.
Mr. Ramachandran finished by saying that SL and India will go forward hand in hand and requested the legendary spinner to bowl for squash as well; not only in SL but the rest of the world.