The country has made itself a name in cricket, winning the 1996 World Cup and the 2014 T-20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka has separate teams for the blind and the deaf too.
Deaf cricket team
Cricket is part of his life
The country’s first professional cricket umpire became disabled in an accident in Colombo in 1992 and is today confined to a wheelchair, but only physically, as his intellect is very much active.
Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera has told radiogagana.com that the local deaf and blind cricketers have not been recognized for their excellence at international level.
He noted that even courts have recognized the rights of the differently-abled persons, who comprise nearly 20 per cent of the population, and are the biggest minority group in the country.
20 pc of the population – biggest minority
Person of the year in 2016
Qualified as an umpire while being a university student in 1975, he is also a scorer and a trainer of umpires.
Dr. Perera was acclaimed as person of the year in 2016 for his struggle on behalf of the differently-abled persons.
Right to access
A differently-abled person’s access to a playground
According to him, priority attention should be paid for two requirements of the differently-abled persons.
One is their access to enter a building, he said, noting that the country’s cricket stadiums did not have that facility, and not even the modern buildings being constructed.
Inability to use facilities at a public place itself causes a person to be isolated from society, making him a burden socio-economically.
To begin from Sugathadasa indoor stadium
Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said attention has been paid to this matter and that access for differently-abled persons would begin to be given, starting from Sugathadasa indoor stadium.
He has instructed relevant officials to study and make use of Dr. Perera’s plans in that connection.
The second requirement is proper lavatory facilities for the differently-abled persons.
Dr. Perera said his plans in this regard submitted to politicians, officials and Sri Lankan cricketers of international repute have not materialized.
Parliament adopted in October 1996 an act to ensure and promote rights of the differently-abled persons.
Govt.’s promise to safeguard rights of differently-abled persons
The government has also became a signatory to the international convention on the rights of differently-abled persons.
However, none of the rights contained in it have been secured for them so far, said Dr. Perera.
Govt.’s responsibility to ensure equality for differently-abled persons
Social empowerment and welfare minister S.B. Dissanayake, speaking to journalists on 09 March 2016, recognized the government’s responsibility to ensure social equality for differently-abled persons.
Dr. Perera said at least the new constitution should ensure their rights, and stressed the need for parliamentary representation of differently-abled persons as well.
A committee headed by lawyer Lal Wijenaike to entertain public views for a new constitution, in a report submitted to the government, has recommended the recognition of differently-abled persons as part of the humanity and human diversity.