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The winners of the ICC’s Development Programme Annual Awards have been announced, with individuals and initiatives from associate and affiliate member countries from around the world being honoured.
While Nepal celebrate their victory in the final of the World Cricket League Division 5, Binaya Raj Pandey, president of the Cricket Association of Nepal, received the programme’s Lifetime Service award. Namibia’s cricket development programme won Best Overall Cricket Development Programme, while the Deutsche Cricket Bund picked up the Best Women’s Cricket Initiative award.
The Israel Cricket Association won the Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative for their programme, in partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF, which has introduced cricket as a means of bringing together Jewish and Bedouin children in the Negev Desert to promote co-existence and tolerance among those caught up in the Israel-Arab conflict.
“It is wonderful to see so many of our Associates and Affiliates being recognised for all the hard work and effort they put into their cricket programmes,” said ICC global development manager Matthew Kennedy. “Everyone who has won and those who were not successful this time round should be congratulated for their continuing effort and dedication to improving cricket in their nation.”
Ireland’s James Bennett and S Gopalkrishnan of Indonesia shared the Volunteer of the Year Award for their dedication and contribution to the game in 2009. The Photo of the Year also came from Ireland and was taken by Rob O’Connor. His picture captured the celebrations following the match-winning run out in a game between Leinster and West Glamorgan Under-13s.
“This is great news for Irish cricket and I’m delighted for both winners, said Arthur Vincent, Cricket Ireland’s president. “Jim Bennett is a dedicated and tireless volunteer for Irish youth cricket, and it’s thanks to the likes of stalwarts like Jim why our youth system is the envy of many countries. He is quite simply a fantastic servant to the cause of cricket in the country and the award is richly deserved. Jim is a gentleman and a great ambassador for Irish cricket.
“Rob O’Connor is involved with Irish cricket at many levels, and is a superb photographer,” he added. “His image captures for me the essence and the unspoilt sheer exuberance and enjoyment of young cricketers playing the game. It’s a great honour for both to have won these prestigious awards and a marvellous reflection on the healthy standard of cricket here.”
The judging panel for the awards featured current ICC President David Morgan, former presidents Ehsan Mani, Malcolm Gray and Ray Mali, and Keith Bradshaw, MCC’s secretary and chief executive.