mran Khan with former members of the Sri Lanka cricket team
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his efforts to strengthen sports diplomacy, participated at an interactive session with the sports community of Sri Lanka on Wednesday at the Shangri- La Hotel in Colombo during his two day visit.
The former Pakistan cricket captain Khan fondly recalled his visit to Sri Lanka as a fresh university graduate and as a young player and commended the Sri Lankan players in attendance especially Arjuna Ranatunga as the team captain in the World Cup win in Pakistan.
The Pakistan PM said he could recall Sri Lanka’s rise to international cricket as early as in 1975.
Khan also revealed that political failures in Pakistan did not deter him from rising to the ranks of the Prime Minister after 14 years of active public life.
Khan was presented with a proposed project for a high performance sports complex by Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa which is to be named after him (Khan).
The high-performance centre proposed to be constructed in Nawala, Kotte will focus purely on track and field sports and it will also feature a state-of-the-art sports analytics centre along with a sports science laboratory.
The proposed centre aims to be a hub in the nation as well as the region for high performance athletes who aim to compete at the highest level of global sport.
Minister Rajapaksa presented a memento to Prime Minister Khan who in turn presented his signed cricket bat to him.
Former Sri Lanka cricketers Arjuna Ranatunga, Roy Dias, Sidath Wettimuny, Brendon Kuruppu, Muttiah Muralidaran, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Hashan Tillekaratne, Chaminda Vaas and Aravinda de Silva along with Olympic Silver medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe graced the occasion.