Sikkim Cricket Association [SICA] celebrated its 32nd foundation day by honouring and felicitating its founding and former members, officials and players for their contributions to the sport and the association in the State. Interestingly, this is also the first time that the association celebrated its foundation day since its inception in 1987.
The foundation day celebration was held at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology here at Deorali on Monday and had Governor Ganga Prasad as the chief guest.
On the occasion, SICA presented the Life Time Achievement Award to founding members Aswin Oberoi and Namgyal Wangdi for their selfless contributions to the association since its inception in 1987 and acknowledged them as the ‘Longest Serving Members’ of SICA.
The association also honoured former general secretary of SICA, the late Tenzing Yuthok, for his leading role in getting the SICA affiliated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India [BCCI]. This In-Memoriam was received by family members of the late Mr Yuthok.
Further, SICA also felicitated the Secretary, Sports & Youth Affairs Department, Commandant of Sikkim Armed Police and Additional Secretary CMO for their contributions towards the development of cricket in the State.
The association has awarded senior men’s Ranji team and senior women’s one-day team of Sikkim with the Best Performing Team of the year recognition, while the South District Association received the Best District award for active involvement in cricketing activities and for facilitating the growth and maintaining the popularity of cricket in Sikkim.
Sikkim senior men’s team captain, Nilesh Lamichaney, for season 2018-19, was felicitated for his outstanding performance in scoring a century against Arunachal Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy one day cricket.
Likewise, Tarun Sharma in U-16 boy’s, Pranita Chettri in U-19 women’s and Robin Limboo in U-19 men’s teams were feted as the Most Promising Players and the association also felicitated other players, coaches and officials for their achievements and contributions towards the association.
In his address, the Governor pointed out that Sikkim has been producing good footballers and stalwarts in other sports. On the same, he expressed hope that the State will also register a strong presence in cricket in the country in the near future.
He commented that Sikkimese youth have huge potential and enthusiasm for sports and required exposure and opportunity to excel. He also assured to extend all possible support from his side for the development of cricket in the State.
The Governor mentioned that even the Prime Minister applauded Sikkim senior team captain, Nilesh Lamichaney for scoring the first century from the State at a national level tournament. He congratulated Nilesh and encouraged him to continue with his good game for the State.
He congratulated SICA for the development of cricket in the State and taking local players to the national level. He remarked that the State association receiving full-fledged membership of the BCCI and the ongoing infrastructural development for cricket in the State were good signs for further development of the sport here.
He also conveyed his best wishes to all cricketers of the State to play well and shine. He also called on the youth to deliver on their responsibilities towards society and take Sikkim ahead on all fronts.
SICA president, Lobzang G Tenzing, appreciated the tireless efforts and initiatives of the founding and former members of the association for bringing the cricket to this level. He also spoke about the contributions and achievements of former bodies of the association for the development of cricket here.
He also expressed gratitude towards the State government and the BCCI for their support to SICA and for development of cricket to this level in the State and thanked the Chief Minister for extending the lease of Rangpo Mining Ground for another 33 years.
“There were many challenges before us when we took over the association in 2016 and we worked hard to make SICA a vibrant and active association in a short time. We established a good rapport and relationship with the State government and the BCCI for the development of cricket and welfare of cricketing fraternity,” Mr Tenzing said.
He also spoke about the various achievements of the present body of the association and said that the association has been working for development of game and infrastructures for local players.
He shared that SICA has plans to develop two more grounds and establish a full-fledged cricket academy to train human resource for all aspects of the sport. He further informed that the association plans to host talent hunts and cricket tournaments at the school and other levels.
Earlier, SICA general secretary, Sonam Palden Bhutia, presented the annual report of SICA.
He informed that cricket was first played in Sikkim in the valleys of Lachen in North Sikkim by a British Everest expedition team led by Eric Shipton travelling to Tibet in the year 1938. He informed that SICA, in collaboration with India Post, also released a special cover celebrating 80 years of the first cricket match played in Sikkim on 25 May 2018.
Mr Bhutia informed that the first cricket tournament, Snow Lion Cricket Tournament, was played in 1975 at Pakyong in East Sikkim with six teams participating. He added the SICA was formed on 08 May 1987 and became an associate member of the BCCI on 1991 and after long time it became the full fledged member of BCCI last year and has been taking part in all BCCI tournaments and programmes.
The function started with the welcome address by the celebration committee chairman, Gyaphel Tshering Bhutia and concluded with the vote of thanks by SICA vice president, Gopal Sharma.