Friday 8 November 2013 

Sir Ian Botham Completes Epic Sri Lanka Walk

Sir Ian Botham
Sir Ian Botham (left) celebrates completing what he calls his 'greatest' walk, in Sri Lanka
© Laureus
 

Sir Ian Botham has completed his 160-mile walk from the north to the south coast of Sri Lanka, raising more than $US 210,000 for the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation.

He was joined by a host of sports stars past and present including Muttiah Muralitharan, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Morné du Plessis and Sunil Gavaskar during the epic trek.

It took him eight days to cross Sri Lanka and the money raised will go towards the Laureus-supported Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka and global projects.

He started in Kilnochni in the north and crossed the finish line in Seenigama in the south, maintaining an impressive average pace of 20 miles a day and ending with a rousing reception courtesy of Sri Lanka schoolchildren lining the final stretch.

"It's all over and it’s been terrific, the reception here in Seenigama was magnificent, especially having all the children here," Botham said following the walk.

"I am delighted we have raised so much for such a good cause. I would like to thank the great sportsmen who have joined me on this walk, but particularly I would like to thank the wonderful Sri Lanka people who have come out to support us every mile of the route over eight days. It was the inspiration that helped us through."

Muralitharan added: "Ian coming here has been one of the great est things to happen to us, for the awareness it has brought for what we do at the Foundation of Goodness. I cannot thank him enough."

Walk sponsors Lycamobile were represented by Vice President Chris Tooley, who also joined Botham during part of the walk.

Group President Subaskaran Alirajah commented: "At Lycamobile we have a passion to help those less fortunate than us. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is a fantastic organisation which offers exception support to children living in Sri Lanka.

"We hope that this walk will raise a substantial amount of money and help change many lives."

Botham concluded: "A great many organisations and people worked long and hard to put my Sri Lanka Walk together and I would like to thank them.

"They have all shown their commitment to help young people and I could not have completed this great adventure without their backing."

The walk is the latest of a number of walks that Botham has undertaken both during and since his career as an international cricketer.

He has completed walks from John O'Groats to Land's End in Great Britain, the 9 Valleys in Wales and the Hannibal Walk in the Alps.

He was inspired to help Sri Lanka after seeing first-hand the devastation left behind by the 2004 tsunami, which kileld 35,000 and displaced more than 500,000 others.

Laureus has played a huge part since then, by working with the Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka, to provide funds and expertise to help build sports facilities and supply coaching for young people in rural communities.

© Cricket World 2013