August 22, 2006

Japan

Kapil Dev and Mike Gatting head Japan fund raiser

Martin Williamson

Former England Test captain Mike Gatting will play in a charity cricket match in Yokohama, Japan this October, along with Indian cricketer of the century Kapil Dev, and South African legend Clive Rice.

Japan may not be known as a premier cricketing and rugby nation, but come September Yokohama will play host to a veritable smorgasbord of cricketing and rugby greats. The Tyler Foundation, an NPO supporting children with cancer in Japan and their families, is presenting Sports Extravaganza 2006 from September 29 – October 1, 2006. Cricket and rugby celebrities from the U.K., India, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are coming to Tokyo for a Sports Dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi, Tokyo, a Celebrity Golf Day at the Seve Ballesteros Course near Narita on September 30, and a Celebrity Cricket Match at the Y.C.A.C. in Yokohama on October 1.

Former England Test captain Mike Gatting will play in a charity cricket match in Yokohama, Japan this October, along with Indian cricketer of the century Kapil Dev, and South African legend Clive Rice.

Japan may not be known as a premier cricketing and rugby nation, but come September Yokohama will play host to a veritable smorgasbord of cricketing and rugby greats. The Tyler Foundation, an NPO supporting children with cancer in Japan and their families, is presenting Sports Extravaganza 2006 from September 29 – October 1, 2006. Cricket and rugby celebrities from the U.K., India, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are coming to Tokyo for a Sports Dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi, Tokyo, a Celebrity Golf Day at the Seve Ballesteros Course near Narita on September 30, and a Celebrity Cricket Match at the Y.C.A.C. in Yokohama on October 1.

In addition to Dev, Gatting and Rice, the three-day Sports Extravaganza has attracted big names like Australian spinner Ray Bright, and English fast bowlers Gladstone Small and Devon Malcolm. It has also started to attract the attention of a wealth of sponsors. Sponsors like United Airlines, British Airways, Air New Zealand, South African Airways and Air India have come to the party with generous donations and the Hotel Okura in Tokyo is supporting with accommodations.

A huge coup for the event was when former Indian captain, Kapil Dev agreed to participate. In a recent interview with the Tyler Foundation, Dev explained why he wanted to support the event. He replied: “Well, a lot of people ask me why I do charity. If you don’t feel within yourself that you want to do something good for society or good for the world, then there’s no point doing it. But if you really fell strongly, one should spend 5% of their time or life giving back to the people who require help. I think it makes a big difference. And I also want to do that.”

The Tyler Foundation was established by the parents of Tyler Ferris, Kim and Mark, in honor of their son who died from a rare form of infant leukemia when he was just 23 months old in June 2005. Even though they felt Tyler received excellent care in Japan, the experience of having a child with cancer hospitalized for nearly two years, made them realize that there was still much to be done to make life easier for the young patients and the parents supporting them. Usage of Foundation funds is guided by a team of three Japanese doctors and headed by Tyler’s doctor, Dr. Masaaki Kumagai, who is the head of pediatric oncology/hematology at the National Center for Child Health and Development and on the Foundation’s board of directors.

There are four areas in which the Tyler Foundation aims to make a difference: supporting children with cancer who are hospitalized for long periods, supporting parents and siblings, providing financial assistance related to treatment options, and facilitating bone marrow and umbilical cord blood donation. One specific fundraising goal for the Sports Extravaganza is to provide an additional pediatric oncologist to Tyler’s hospital. The Tyler Foundation will employ the doctor and dispatch her or him to the hospital on an annual basis with the aim of improved care for patients and a greater sense of comfort for the parents

Cricket will not be the only code represented at the event. Joel Stransky, the South African rugby player who kicked the famous dropped goal against the All Blacks in extra time in the 1995 World Cup will also participate.

The Yokohama match will be 40 overs and spots on the team will also be open for bidding. It’ll be a great day for friends and family – and an excellent opportunity to introduce non-cricketing friends to the game in a fun and festive atmosphere.

The primary goal of The Tyler Foundation’s weekend of events is to raise funds for a worthy cause, but it will also give participants a good look at the grass roots level of cricket in Japan. Cricket lovers from all over country are invited to take part in the Sports Extravaganza, and to rub shoulders with these former cricket and rugby greats from around the world. Who knows, you may never get a chance like this again. Shine on!

For more information on the Foundation, the Sports Extravaganza, please visit: www.tylershineon.org.

Mark McTamney

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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