Ms. Hiroko Yamada - Director of International Affairs, Baseball Federation of Japan, Ms. Akiko Shimura - Coach of Women’s Baseball National Team of Japan, Ms. Risa Kagawa - Coach of Female Baseball National Team of Australia, Ms. Ayako Rokkaku - former member of the Women’s Baseball National Team of Japan and Mr. Kazuya Yagi - former JICA Volunteer in Kandy, who contributed a lot to women’s baseball in Sri Lanka, attended the camp.
They came to Sri Lanka under the program called “Sport for Tomorrow”, sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to bring the joy of sports directly to ten million people in over one hundred countries by the time the Olympic torch reaches Tokyo in 2020 and to spread the value of sport for the future generation.
The Women’s Baseball Federation of Japan had two main objectives of visiting Sri Lanka, namely, 1) to spread the joy and excitement of baseball to those women and girls who are not familiar with baseball and 2) to share the skills and techniques to those already active female players to improve their performance.
The first objective has been achieved through 3-day camps with the participation of more than 100 beginners in Kandy on 6th and 7th December as well as nearly 50 beginners, including those from students from Kelaniya University, Sri Jayawardenapura University, Sirimavo high school and Magedera high school, in Diyagama (Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Ground) on 10the December.
As for the second objective, they conducted a baseball coaching camp for female players of Sri Lanka Army and Navy from 7th to 9th December at Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Ground.
Ms. Milka Priyadarshani, captain of Army team said “this is the first time to be trained by Japanese coaches in my 4-year career. So I deeply appreciate this valuable opportunity.” Ms. S.W.S.M Wickramarathna, captain of Navy team said “I have learnt a lot through this coaching camp. They are very kind and friendly, we enjoyed a lot. Simply it was so much fun!”
At the farewell ceremony held in Ambassador’s residence on 10th December, H.E. Mr. Akira Sugiyama, Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka,expressed his appreciation for the Sri Lankan players’ enthusiastic participation and was impressed by their passion for excellence on baseball, and his heartfelt gratitude to all those who made this camp possible, especially the Sri Lanka Amateur Baseball / Softball Association headed by Mr. Fazil Hussain.