Ten Sri Lankan students take part in Freelykick football winter camp


The first ‘One Belt, One Road’ Cultural Football Camp was held in Shanghai, China recently. Here is the student contingent that represented Sri Lanka in the event.

The first ‘One Belt, One Road’ cultural football camp organised by the private company in Shanghai Freelykick Sports Development Pvt. ended last weekend. Over 80 students from Sri Lanka, Serbia, Panama, Kenya and the hosting country China participated and this helped create deep friendships between each other. Through the One Road One Belt initiative, football has now become another platform of exchange among the youth.

The aim of this winter camp was to promote China’s exchange relationships and to integrate with the Belt and Road countries. Through this they created cross- cultural interactions among the young and also comprehensively enhanced the overall literacy among young people in terms of cultural awareness and teamwork, national spirit and world vision of the younger generation. It’s also important to mention that this winter camp gave the opportunity to students who are fond of football and are into sports but who cannot afford the expenses involved with this game.

This winter camp was organised to train and to give the football knowledge to students between the age of 9 to 12. A total of 10 students participated for this winter camp from Sri Lanka along with Swarnamali Wijesinghe, the head of Freelykick branch in Sri Lanka and Palagasinghe the head coach. A.G. Janith Chamika, M.M.R.M. Badallage, T. Ravindu Lakshan, M.M. Shenas Masthoor, H. Mohomod Athif and I. Imshath Kamil from St. Mary’s National School in Hambantota, Musthaq Jazeel and M.R.M. Riyath from Al-Akbar College, Ambalantota and M.F.M. Falil from Tzu Chi National School, Hambantota took part in this camp. These students were involved in activities like Chinese wushu, Chinese wrestling, specifically soccer training and were given setback training and fun challenges to improve their skills and to enhance their understandings. They recognised each other’s countries, understood each other’s languages and tried to accept different cultures. The organisers prepared a Chinese New Year function with traditional activities such as Chinese origami, making Dumplings and a dinner reunion.

This winter camp concluded with a closing ceremony and with the presence of the chairman of Shanghai Football Association, Mr. Zhu Guang. In an interview with the reporters, he expressed his expectations for the development of youth training.

"Our current Football Youth Training is now developing gradually. Our society should promote such activities in a variety of other forms that’s rich in content." He further stated; "Provinces and municipalities are now into youth training which is the key to improve universally. I think this should not only have coach training, but also a scouting system to improve the school league, etc. Youth training lays the foundation for this. By doing so, I think the students will learn a lot about cultures and at the same time with the help of the coaches they’ll be able to possess a perfect personality."

The One Belt One Road initiative will further continue by deepening links with many more countries like Czech Republic, Slovenia, Russia, Jamaica, Chile and Argentina and will be invited for a summer camp, winter camp and a transnational league match that’s fully-fledged with a bigger platform.

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