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Blog: 'Cricket in Wales has opened its arms to me. I’ve loved the opportunity to give back to the community'

Ismail Chowdhury, a trainee PE teacher at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, was one of many who took up the opportunity to play in the Ramadan Tapeball League at Sophia Gardens during the holy month.

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Blog: 'Cricket in Wales has opened its arms to me. I’ve loved the opportunity to give back to the community'

Ramadan Tapeball League at Sophia Gardens

Ismail Chowdhury, a trainee PE teacher at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, was one of many who took up the opportunity to play in the Ramadan Tapeball League at Sophia Gardens during the holy month. Ismail shares his experiences and how – in addition to playing - he has enjoyed taking a leading role in engaging the local community, alongside Glamorgan County Cricket Club and Cricket Wales.

I have always had an interest in sport and the connection it plays in wider society. I studied sport and exercise science at university to further understand the fundamentals of movements and how these can be manipulated to improve performance.

But most importantly I studied this particular course so I could recognise the wider impact of sport on people and how it not only builds determined, resilient, and disciplined individuals for the future, but also the power it has to create stronger communities.

During the holy month of Ramadan I have been extremely lucky to play a part of, and witness this first hand.

The Ramadan Tapeball League, founded by Glamorgan Cricket and Cricket Wales, is a brilliant initiative that has diversified the game and made it more accessible to more people than ever before.

Having everyone here together during the holy month of Ramadan, instilling the unified sense of closeness, inclusivity, and community, has been an unforgettable experience. We’ve had fantastic turnouts and it makes me very happy to see people attending the sessions and making the most of the opportunities to get involved, especially after the challenging few years that we’ve had.

Overall the sessions went really smoothly. We took a round-robin style approach, giving everyone a chance to take part and to imbue a fun yet competitive atmosphere. However, what has been most important for myself, and I’m sure for many of my colleagues, has been the chance to give back. To do what we do, seeing people enjoying themselves and playing our game with a smile on their faces, has truly been a blessing.

Ismail Chowdhury (left) has welcomed the steps taken by Glamorgan CCC and Cricket Wales to make cricket more accessible

Ismail Chowdhury (left) has welcomed the steps taken by Glamorgan CCC and Cricket Wales to make cricket more accessible

I must give Glamorgan CCC and Cricket Wales a special mention for giving me this opportunity to lead projects that genuinely make a difference – it means a lot. The fact that they were willing to open the stadium and the multi-faith prayer room facilities at midnight is incredible and much appreciated. 

The backing Mojeid Ilyas (Diversity Community Officer at Cricket Wales and Glamorgan CCC) has received for a wide range of community projects has been amazing.

Mojeid started in his role at Glamorgan 12 months ago, having already been at Cricket Wales, and his impact has been inspiring.

One of the stand-out moments was the women’s only Iftar, which was recently held at the stadium.

More than 50 women and children from different backgrounds came together to celebrate community cohesion - it was an extremely powerful message from the club. For me, it shows their substantiated intention to open up their 'home' to the community and create a sense of belonging for everyone.

In addition to the mentioned events, Mojeid has led on creating a wide range of street-based activities across Cardiff and Newport, tapping into those inner-city areas.

Alongside that, we’ve had brilliant access to Glamorgan players and coaches who have hosted community-based meet-and-greets.

It’s really refreshing to see that those at the 'top of the game' are so actively willing to give back to the community. This grounded understanding of the importance of community engagement goes a long way in developing a solid relationship of trust between Glamorgan, Cricket Wales and their surrounding communities.

Not only does it ensure that everyone feels a part of the cricket family in Wales, but it opens doors for others, who perhaps like me, have a passion to connect sport and communities. 

I am incredibly proud to say I am part of this changing movement.

To find out more information, and how you can get involved, in further Glamorgan CCC and Cricket Wales community initiatives you can email Mojeid Ilyas at: mojeid.ilyas@cricketwales.org.uk

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