This being a sports related web site I chose not to give this story any mileage when it first took place. What changed my mind was Sri Lankan cricket captain Mahela Jayawardena’s entry in his tour diary.
The tour diary can be found on his official website located here.
"The one sour note in the trip was when the tour bus was stopped by LTTE protesters and eggs and stones were thrown at us."
"We are sportsman and we dont want to get involved in politics. We tried to just forget about it, but it was a bit upsetting."
Mahela is right. Sportsmen are not responsible for politics or the actions of their government. Team Sri Lanka represents all Sri Lankans regardless of caste, creed, race, or religion. Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, an ethnic Tamil, is a Sri Lankan sporting icon and is considered a national hero by all.
This is not the first time that international sportsman have been targeted by extremists. How could one forget the Munich massacre back in 1972? Members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually murdered by a militant group with ties to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization.
This incident in King City, Ontario, however, is a first on Canadian soil – where an international sports team was attacked due to the lack of security provided by the Canadian police and the event organisers.
As the story goes the team manager Nishantha Ranatunga called police for assistance from within the tour bus.
Meanwhile, at the Maple Leaf Cricket Ground, Sri Lankans of all ethnic backgrounds including many moderate Tamils celebrated Sri Lanka’s victory. Unfortunately it only took the deeds of a few to put all of Canada to shame.