Former India captains Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday joined England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham on ‘Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk’ on the fourth and toughest day yet of the fundraising trek for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation across the country.
The 25 miles from Kandy to Pinnawala was twice the distance completed the previous day and the heat was approaching 45 degrees to make things even tougher.
Funds raised from the Walk, staged with the backing of Sri Lankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Tourism, will go to help sports-based community projects, including those operated by the Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka with the support of the Laureus foundation.
The fourth stage of the walk started in Kandy, where scores of cricket fans filled the streets to see the three legends of cricket, and finished at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
“It was an unbelievable experience. What I’ve seen Ian do is unreal,” said Ganguly.
Gavaskar added: “It’s a fantastic thing to come to a completely different country and do a charity walk. The energy he brings, the pace he sets, he left all us behind, so hats off to him. The way he supports his causes is a lesson to us all.”
Botham has to maintain an average pace of 20 miles a day for eight days in fierce temperatures if he is to reach Seenigama in the south of the country by his target date of Nov. 8.
He has been taking part in walks for charity for almost 30 years and he admitted in Pinnawala: “Today was the toughest day of walking I have ever had. The best bit of the walk was definitely the finish.” During the walk, many great cricketers such as Steve Waugh, Allan Border, Mahela Jayawardena, Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara have all pledged to join Botham at various stages.