Chilaw Marians SC honours Chamari Athapaththu

Sri Lanka women’s cricket captain, Chamari Athapaththu, was honoured by her club, Chilaw Marians CC, at a grand felicitation ceremony held at the Taj Samudra Hotel yesterday.

“I have had the privilege of being a part of Chilaw Marians CC for the past six years, thanks to an invitation from the club’s Secretary, Godfrey Dabare,” said Athapaththu. “I am deeply grateful to my mother and late father for their encouragement, and to Sri Lanka Cricket for their immense support. I dreamt of becoming like my heroes, Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva, and today, I have the privilege of sitting alongside them.”

Athapaththu, named ICC’s best women’s ODI cricketer, credited her success to her time with Chilaw Marians CC, which she described as being like family. Her extensive experience playing franchise cricket in countries such as England, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Hong Kong has also contributed significantly to her growth as a player.

“Representing the national team for 14 years has allowed me to achieve most of my goals, including winning the ICC Best Player award twice within six months, which was a tremendous boost for me,” Athapaththu added. She fondly remembered her schools, Gokarella MV and Ibbagamuwa Central, and acknowledged her coaches for their support.

Sports Minister Harin Fernando praised Athapaththu, calling her the “Giant Lady Cricketer of Sri Lanka.” He likened her and Sanath Jayasuriya to “Iron Man and Iron Lady” and expressed hope that Athapaththu’s leadership would inspire the Sri Lankan women’s team to win a World Cup soon. “Chamari is an icon of women’s cricket in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Master batsmen Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya, special guests at the ceremony, also lauded Athapaththu. De Silva highlighted her role as a trailblazer in Sri Lankan women’s cricket, emphasizing the importance of supporting her contributions to elevate the sport. “Scoring 195 runs to secure a team victory is a remarkable achievement,” he said.

Jayasuriya commended Athapaththu’s hard work and dedication to maintaining her physical and mental fitness, recognising the challenges she has overcome. “She serves as an excellent example for other women cricketers,” he added.

The ceremony was attended by SLC President Shammi Silva, SLC Treasurer Sujeewa Godaliyadda, SLC women’s cricket convener Apsari Tillekaratna, and Chilaw Marians CC Secretary Godfrey Dabare, along with other officials and members of the club.

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