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Sri Lankan team honored after returning home from cricket World Cup

Sri Lankan team honored after returning home from cricket World Cup

The Sri Lankan national cricket team, runners-up in the World Cup, were honored with an elaborate ceremony and a parade through the capital when they returned home Thursday.
Traditional dancers and drummers performed near the tarmac as the players descended from a Qatar Airways flight, and they were garlanded by Sports Minister Bandula Basnayake and other officials, amid light showers.
Buddhist monks, Hindu and Catholic priests and Muslim clerics performed services to bless the team.
The players were later paraded around the capital, Colombo in a luxury bus escorted by scores of armed soldiers.
Australia beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs to win the tournament for a third consecutive time. Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996.
Earlier this week the Sri Lankan team was forced to make new travel plans after the airline that was to fly them home canceled all flights to Colombo because of Tamil Tiger rebel air raids.
The team was supposed to fly home from London on Dubai-based Emirates airlines, but later changed to Qatar Airways.
Both Emirates and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific had suspended all flights to the Sri Lankan capital after a rebel attack Sunday on fuel facilities on the outskirts of the city. On Wednesday, Emirates said it would resume day time flights to Colombo starting Friday.
In March the Tamil Tigers targeted an air force base near the country's only international airport, in their first air strike since they began fighting for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority in 1983.
The rebel air attacks forced officials to briefly shut down the airport twice.
Sunday's air raids took place while many Sri Lankans were watching the World Cup final on television.


Updated : 2021-04-16 16:38 GMT+08:00