Development program gets into swing

Mon, May 25, 2009 12:22 PM

Development program gets into swing
Almost 100 boys and girls aged six upwards descended on Hadar Yosef Sports Stadium in Tel Aviv as the Israel Cricket Association launched their revamped development program earlier this week. The children from Zichron Yaakov in the North, Be'er Sheva in the South, central areas like Modiin, Ra'anana, Rishon L'Zion and Netanya, Tel Aviv and the Bedouin town of Hura in the Negev were all involved in the unique event.

The program was spearheaded by Herschel Gutman, who recently arrived in Israel to take up his position as national coach and development officer: "The idea behind the day was to get as many youngsters who may have an interest in cricket involved, and to get groups and clubs started up in their areas so within a couple of months we will have cricket established in as many cities and towns as possible," said Gutman.

For many it was the first trip to Tel Aviv, particularly for 30 children from Hura. Recently introduced to cricket by the ICA in partnership with UK charity Cricket4Change, the young Bedouins smartly kitted out in their royal blue Hura Cricket Club shirts, may have been unfamiliar with the finer intricacies of the game, but nevertheless showed terrific enthusiasm and really enjoyed their day out.

"I didn't realize so many kids play cricket", said Ahmed , in wide-eyed amazement. "I loved playing with all these children, I can't wait until the next time" said Mohammed while he ate his chips. The pole-vault mattress, running track and long-jump sand pit at the athletics stadium were all added attractions for the kids, but cricket was the main focus.

Plans are underway to include some of the most promising Bedouin children in weekly practice sessions for the best U13 players in the country, as well as continue to expand the project to include even more schools in the Negev Bedouin towns.

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