Bharti Airtel Lanka, the local subsidiary of Bharti Airtel which is the world’s third largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, today announced its support as sole sponsor of the ‘All Island School Games Netball Championships 2016’. The Netball Championship segment of the 32nd All Island Schools Games Championships which is conducted by the Departments of Health, Physical Education and Sports of the Ministry of Education, will take place from the 9th - 11th September 2016 at St. Ann’s College, Kurunegala.
This year, the provincial games saw around 13,000 female students representing over 330 schools in the under 15, 17 and 19 age categories accordingly, participating in a fierce competition. Three schools from each age category qualified at provincial level in order to gain entry at national level. As such, over 1200 students representing 54 schools across the country are expected to compete for the final glory of being declared as Airtels’ ‘All Island School Games Netball Champions 2016’.
“Having always been on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities to fuel the Sri Lankan youth to achieve their aspirations, we at Airtel believe that sports provide an ideal platform that create life enriching moments. We understand the value of creating such opportunities as it helps foster talent and build them up to international standards - paving the road towards the success of Sri Lankan sports. In this context, we are pleased to partner the 32nd Island School Games Netball Championships 2016 as it is a great opportunity to extend our support to further develop the sport,” stated Mr. Jinesh Hegde- Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer – Bharti Airtel Lanka.
Mr. Hegde further added, “Airtel is uniquely positioned to nurture young talent, as we believe that this is an arena which creates limitless opportunities for the youth of our society to be developed as successful future leaders, thus creating a progressive community in Sri Lanka. We are indeed humbled to have the support of Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Minister for Education towards this initiative and we are confident that this platform will continue to inspire talented netball players to become professional players in the future”.
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One of the oldest games in Sri Lanka, Netball was first played in 1921 by the Ceylon Guide Company at Kandy High School. The first interschool match was played between Kandy High School and C.M.S. Ladies’ College, Colombo in 1925. In 1927, Netball was played by the Government Training College for the first time which also aided in popularizing the game around the country. By the 1930s, the game was played at Methodist College Colombo and Bishop’s College Colombo and by 1950s, most of the sports clubs in Sri Lanka were playing the game at international level.
Airtel Lanka made its foray into the field of sports sponsorships in the year 2012 through its associations with Manchester United as well as through sports such as Football, Rugby, Tennis, Golf, Rowing, Cricket Basketball and now Netball. The company has been involved in the development of sports, as evidenced by its various sponsorships at school level, district level and island-wide. While Airtel Lanka continues to be involved beyond just a mere investment with all its sports sponsorships and stakeholders, the company will be committed to develop local talent into international standards, thus fostering sports to new heights as well as contributing actively towards the positive development of youth in Sri Lanka.