Four big hearts, two big fans and the Healthy Hat-Trick

Dambulla, Sri Lanka, Thursday 17 June – Captains of four of the biggest cricket playing nations in the world – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - took time out from the Micromax Asia Cup here today to commit themselves to playing for a hat-trick of another kind, "Cricket’s Healthy Hat-Trick".

At a joint press conference between the Asian Cricket Council and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the message to governments and communities was: invest in a healthy hat-trick – good nutrition, sanitation and girls’ education – three critical interventions to save children’s lives. Three million children under the age of five die in South Asia each year from malnutrition and diseases related to poor sanitation. Educating girls is also key to the survival and health of children and families.

“There is a great energy propelling this region forward at the moment. South Asia is a potential powerhouse, we have seen strong economic growth but this has not yet been translated into improving the lives of women and children,” said Philippe Duamelle, Representative of UNICEF Sri Lanka. “Almost half of all children under five years old in the region are undernourished, and if nothing is done about this their future will effectively be bowled out.”

The ACC and UNICEF called on governments and communities to join the cricketers and commit themselves to take bold action for children.

“Cricketers are not just sportsmen. They are champions, champions for children, champions for change,” said the Asian Cricket Council Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq, “Like in any world class cricket match a hat-trick is that rare and magical creation we all aim for. Investing in a Healthy Hat-Trick, good nutrition and sanitation and girls education, is the ultimate for children and for cricketers.”

Healthy Hat-Trick on YouTube

Afghanistan And Indian Cricketers "Bowl Out Polio" Together In ICC

Photos by UNICEF/SL/Suzanne Davey

Filed June 18th, 2010