Asian Lacrosse Games – Welcoming Ceremony Speech

July 1st – Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Executive Director of Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Honored guests, players, coaches, officials, and lacrosse enthusiasts,

It is with immense pride and joy that I stand before you today at the inaugural Asian Lacrosse Games here in the beautiful city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. This event marks a significant milestone in the journey of lacrosse in Western Asia, and it is a testament to the dedication, hard work, and passion of everyone involved.

First and foremost, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Lacrosse Association of India and the Saudi Lacrosse Federation. Your commitment to this sport is truly inspiring, and we are deeply grateful for the long journeys you have undertaken to be here. Your presence enriches this event, and we are honored to have you join us in this historic moment.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the Uzbekistan Lacrosse Federation and their incredible staff for the extraordinary effort they have put into preparing this event. This amazing stadium, Olympia Stadium, stands as a beacon of what can be achieved through dedication and collaboration. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed, and we are all in awe of the seamless organization and welcoming atmosphere you have created for us.

As a lacrosse developer, I am often reminded of a saying we have in Japan: “lacrosse makes friends.” This simple yet powerful saying captures the essence of what lacrosse is all about. The lacrosse stick is not just a piece of equipment; it is a powerful tool that connects different communities. It fosters athleticism, allowing anyone, regardless of their physical stature, to excel at the sport through hard work and determination. It sparks conversations, whether it’s with an unsuspecting passerby curious about this unique sport or during a business meeting with a client who played lacrosse in their younger days. The lacrosse stick is a unifier, bringing together people of all genders, ethnic groups, and religions, creating a powerful sense of community.

The concept of the Asian Lacrosse Games was born out of a desire to support and develop our newly founded Western region APLU members, providing them with a pathway to the world stage. Our Eastern region members, such as Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand, have a rich history of lacrosse development spanning over 30 years. These nations have already competed at the World Level and are now among the top 15 teams globally. With the growing interest and commitment from our members in Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and Iran, we have a unique opportunity to support each other, grow efficiently together, and build a strong lacrosse brand in this region.

As we embark on this journey, let us remember that we are not just playing a sport. We are building bridges, fostering friendships, and creating a legacy that will inspire future generations. Together, we can achieve great things and ensure that lacrosse continues to thrive and unite people across the globe.

Thank you all for being here and for your unwavering support. Let the games begin, and may this be the start of a bright and successful future for lacrosse in the Asia Pacific!

Thank you

Chris Jinno
Executive Director
Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union