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Consul General lauds efforts to launch Over-60 softball league

CONSUL General (ag) Gerald Whyte (left) with OTSCL executives Azeem Khan, Dickey Singh and Feizal Bacchus.
CONSUL General (ag) Gerald Whyte (left) with OTSCL executives Azeem Khan, Dickey Singh and Feizal Bacchus.

By Frederick Halley
CONSUL General (ag) to Toronto, Gerald Whyte, was among those present when the Ontario Twilight Softball Cricket League (OTSCL) made its official launch on Saturday at Littles Diamond school ground, Scarborough, Toronto.

The brainchild of club president, Azeem Khan, who also pioneered the now-popular over-50 leagues in Canada, Guyana, New York and Florida, the three-man executive committee also includes vice-president Feizal Bacchus and secretary Dickey Singh, a trio who were also part of the Ontario Masters Softball Cricket Clubs (OMSCC) until the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

In brief remarks, Whyte who also participated briefly in the friendly match following the launching, told those in attendance that the Guyana Consulate is always happy to be present in activities of the diaspora and lauded the OTSCL executives for their efforts in forming the league.

(Above: Bibi Bijulsingh hands over sponsorship cheque to OTSCL president, Azeem Khan, in the presence of her husband Nigel Bijulsingh).

Whyte expressed sincere thanks to the OTSCL for inviting him to the ceremony and reminded that cricket is more than a sport, more than a recreational activity, it is the special unifying force that brings people together, especially those in the Guyana diaspora.

After welcoming the players, who played two friendly games, secretary Singh gave an overview of the objectives of the OTSCL, the primary purpose being to provide the opportunity for the most experienced cricketers to continue enjoying their boyhood sport.

Khan reminded the cricketers that they should all appreciate and be thankful for the opportunity to continue playing softball in a foreign land. He then read the famous Land Acknowledgement, in honour of the Indigenous peoples of Canada: I’d like to begin by honouring the land that I’m on. If you are not currently in Toronto, I encourage you to learn about the lands you’re on.

“We acknowledge the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit”.

The president proudly added that Canada has become the first country in the Commonwealth World to have sworn in the first Indigenous Governor General, the Honourable Mary Simon, on July 26, 2021.

According to Khan, the OTSCL was registered in 2020 and he’s very optimistic about health, wellness and the camaraderie that lie ahead for these experienced cricketers.

Khan boasted that he has received blessings from in and out of Canada for the successful launch of the Over-60 league. He also received a congratulatory certificate from the office of the Scarborough Rogue Park, Member of Parliament, Gary Anandasangaree which read: “Staying active through physical activity not only benefits your physical and mental well-being, but can also unite community members, teach new skills and can inspire the new generation.

“I would like to thank the Ontario Twilight Softball Cricket League for creating an over-60 softball cricket league which provides community members a chance to stay fit, meet new friends and to play the fun and exciting game we all grew up watching.”

Khan expressed sincere thanks to the several sponsors who are already on board and these include Naseer Baksh, Nirad Lall, Feroz Yakub, Waseem Ahmed (Black Ash Sports), Ravi Etwaroo (Cricket Zone), Anand Persaud (New Jersey) and Tom Bacchus (Orlando)

Nigel and Bib Bijulisingh of Tropical Nights Family Restaurant, Scarborough, who made a substantial financial contribution and provided lunch for those present, were on hand to witness the day’s proceedings. Special mention other sponsors, Trophy Stall and Meadowbank Financial.