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Cup Extras: SL players bat for HIV patients

Last updated on: March 16, 2011 16:42 IST

Lankans take time off to meet with HIV patients

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Sri Lanka's World Cup team members took time out on Tuesday from their practice session at the Brabourne Stadium to show their support for the Think Wise campaign -- a partnership between the International Cricket Council, UNAIDS and UNICEF.

Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara and his teammates met ten community members from the MSM and hijra communities, including female sex workers from Kamathipura, several of them HIV positive, to understand what it means to be living with homophobia, transphobia, gender violence and HIV.

"It was interesting to have the opportunity to meet people who are infected by HIV and understand some of their issues that they face on a day-to-day basis," said Sangakkara. Sangakkara, championing the Think Wise campaign, believes society must better understand what it means to be discriminated against because you are gay, transgendered or suffer the stigma of being a female sex worker and also living with HIV.

"What came very clear to me during the interaction was that although the people I met may be very different from us in terms of their sexual or gender identity, and living a very different life to the one we do as players, we still have so much in common. These minority groups are no different to anybody else and they must not be discriminated against," he said.

"The Sri Lanka team, through the Think Wise partnership, has always tried to support HIV awareness and the fight against stigma and discrimination," he added.

The Lankans clash with New Zealanders in their last Group A tie at the Wankhede Stadium on March 18.


Image: Kumar Sangakkara
Photographs: Getty Images
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Good turnout for SA-Ireland match in Eden

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A cricket-crazy Kolkata turned up in numbers at the historic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday to watch the South Africa-Ireland World Cup match after having missed the opportunity to host the India-England tie last month.

More than 25,000 spectators turned out to watch the day-night affair at the refurbished Eden Gardens, where a good number of South African and Irish fans had also come to support their respective teams.

- World Cup coverage

The foreigners sat together with Indians in the stands and cheered for their teams and seemed to enjoy every moment of the charged-up atmosphere.

Apart from the slight drizzle in the afternoon, which, however, did not affect the game, things went on pretty smoothly at the Eden Gardens which was hosting its first 2011 World Cup tie.

The turnout was much better than what was expected as the Kolkatans seemed to make the most of what they could get after having lost the hosting rights of the only India match to Bangalore due to the unpreparedness of the venue.

A lot of fans were also heard lamenting that had the stadium been readied a few days earlier, they could have enjoyed the India-England tie.

"I rue how we lost the match, but now I have come to watch this match as I can watch the South African stars and also Ireland's Kevin O'Brien," said Anindita Mukherjee.

A child was seen in the stands holding up a placard that read: "I am Indian but today I am Irish".

Though several people rooted for the Ireland team, a slightly larger percentage of the crowd cheered for the South Africans.


Image: Fans having a good time during the match against South Africa and Ireland
Photographs: Getty Images
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