Indian government, on Tuesday, donated 1000 sets of sports attire for inter-school cricket tournaments hosted by Youth Development Programme (YDP).
Indian Ambassador to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir and Minister of Education Dr Aishath Ali officially handed over the donations to students during a ceremony held on April 9. The donations facilitated by Indian Embassy established in Maldives include jerseys, tracksuits and caps.
General Secretary of Cricket Board Ali Faiz stated that the aid provided by Indian government serves as noteworthy encouragement towards the progression of cricket.
"Until now, the association has provided attire for YDP and inter-school tournaments. Ever since India issued the aid, a lot of weight has been lifted off of us. Thanks to this, we can help more players and involve more people", Faiz said.
YDP programmes are currently conducted in Kunahandhoo, Laamu Atoll, and Fuvahmulah City in addition to capital Male'. Faiz noted that the aid would help in the realization of YDP's vision to expand the programme throughout Maldives.
Cricket fever was notably strong in Maldives in the 80's and 90's, attracting large audiences for tournaments held between various cricket teams. However, enthusiasm for the sport dropped significantly during recent years, despite regular tournaments being held at a national level, and a national team competing in international tournaments.
The national cricket team won the champion title twice in tournaments held between developing Asian countries.
Vastly improved diplomatic ties between Maldives and India following President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih being sworn into office has already resulted in positive contributions benefiting the nation's sports sector. Recently, the Indian government announced the upcoming establishment of a cricket stadium in Maldives as well.
Moreover, the two countries recently collaborated to host special cricket matches named 'Maldives-India Cricket Series', which saw the participation of Air India team along with renowned cricket player Yuvraj Sing. Air India played against the national team of Maldives, and also against a team President Solih was a part of.
Last week, Ambassador Sudhir held discussions about aid provision for different sports with Acting Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Ali Waheed. In the meeting, Minister Waheed invited the Indian national football team and celebrities to attend the football season-opening match of 2019.