Sri Lankan community members contest in a tug of war event during the new year celebrations at Al sadd Sports Club yesterday. (Shaival Dalal)
DOHA: The Sri Lankan community here celebrated yesterday the dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year dubbed “Bakmaha Ulela 2012” at the Al Sadd Sports Club from 7am to 5pm.
Children wearing traditional dresses from Sinhalese and Tamil communities greeted the chief guest, Sri Lankan Ambassador Jayantha Palipane, to mark the start of the event.
Other VIPs who joined the celebration were R S Khan Azad, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Zayed Al Muhannadi, Head of Community Policing, North Security Department, WMV Wansekara, Deputy General Manager, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and Counsellor, Labour.
A drummer led Ambassador Palipane and other special guests in the hoisting the Qatari and Sri Lankan flags immediately followed by the playing of the national anthems and lighting of the traditional oil lamp.
Palipane addressed community members with his New Year’s message and declared the event open. A traditional breakfast sponsored by Gulf Paradise Hotel, Ramada Plaza Doha, DynCorp International, Regency Hotel and Lanka Lions was served.
The day-long event was organised by the Sri Lanka embassy in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee (SLCC) Qatar and Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF).
SLCC President Lenny Cramer said this year’s celebration was overwhelming with large turn-out of countrymen having a grand time enjoying the array of festivities including traditional Sri Lankan music and dances.
Famous actor and comedian Giriraj Kaushalya who was specially flown in from Colombo by Sri Lankan Airlines for the celebrations entertained the large gathering with his acts of comedy in addition to exploiting his talents as a singer.
Popular artist Jagath Wickramasinghe backed by Doha-based Sri Lankan band Ridma enthralled those present with Sinhala and Tamil songs.
Winners of the sports and traditional events received prizes sponsored by Trico International, CCU Logistics, Domasco, Sports Corner and Old Anandians Doha.
A raffle draw was held at the end of the programme prizes from SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee, New White Oceanic Restaurants and Al Wasal Furniture.
Sri Lanka’s television station Rupavahini sponsored by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) covered the event to be telecast in Sri Lanka. The programme was sponsored by Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka and co-sponsored by SriLankan Airlines, SLBFE and Al Bateel Security.
Lankadeepa Middle East and Virakesari were the media sponsors. Sri Lankan Quantity Surveyors Association and Sri Lankan Sports Club (SSC) Wakrah supported the event through their participation in registrations and the conducting of the volleyball tournament.
The Sri Lankan Community Benevolent Fund (SLCBF) operated a food stall at the venue. The program was compeered in the Sinhala and Tamil languages respectively by Tennison Silva, Ranjith Gurusinghe, Mahesh Abhayapala and Fiyaz.