Kilithattu - the national game of Tamil Eelam - has captured the imagination of the next generation of Eelam Tamils across the world.
The game, originating from the agricultural roots of Eelam Tamils, has long been celebrated as a test of strategic thinking and physical agility.
In braod terms two teams, starting from opposite ends of a marked area, take turns to attempt to cross over to the opposite side and back without being caught by their opponents.
Having inspired the Tamil youth in Canada who are proud to view the game as part of their Eelam identity, TYO-Canada held a hugely successful Kilithattu tournament this August.
Over 25 teams of Canadian Tamil youths from across the country, including many university, college and high school teams, competed in the hope of winning the Tamileelam Heritage Challenge Trophy.
“The tournament brought hundreds of youth who have never played the game together to learn something that is part of Tamil identity. Through this tournament we have taught and educated our youth a small piece of our heritage” said Priyanth Nallaratnam, one of the tournament organisers.
Embracing this, participating teams used names inspired by Eelam's history and identity.
“Preserving our identity is extremely important. The Tamil Students’ Association at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus decided to name our team after Captain Miller, the first Black Tiger.
"He was revered within the Tamil community, and we wanted to celebrate his selfless contribution to our struggle," said Vithurren Sivaloganathan, the captain of the Miller Inferno.
The tournament was divided into two groups - beginners and competitive, in order to encourage novice players to participate.
The Eelam 89ers emerged as champions of the Tamileelam Heritage Trophy for the beginners group and Team Ankayarkanni for the competitive group.
Roshan Alisterosario of the Eelam 89ers, stated
"We appreciate and encourage initiatives like Kilithattu to cherish our identity.
"It is great that we have a platform now to learn and be educated about our own history, identity and heritage.”
Miller Inferno captain, Sivalogananthan added,
"We thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and the rivalry, and are thankful to TYO-Canada for hosting such a great event.
"We will definitely come back next year in hopes of winning the Tamileelam Heritage Challenge Trophy.”
TYO-UK are said to be planning a similar tournament for young British Tamils in 2012.