A reunion in the form of a cricket tournament - WDRB 41 Louisville News

A reunion in the form of a cricket tournament

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Teams from all over the U.S. have flocked to Louisville this weekend for an international Cricket competition.

Even though they are fierce competitors, the athletes actually all know each other. They are Bhutanese refugees who grew up in immigrant camps in Nepal.

It's been a long journey to get to the field at Cox Park in Louisville.

“Everybody playing out here was in a refugee camp,” explained Amrit Regmi.

“We have religious issues, political issues,” Hom Manali said. For that, they have been exiled from their small country of Bhutan in South Asia.

Regmi and Manali grew up in refugee camps in Nepal.

“Life was pretty devastating.” Regmi recalled, “No electricity.”

All of the players have just recently immigrated to the U.S. “This is the land of opportunity,” declared Govinda Dahal.

There are an estimated 40,000 Bhutanese immigrants now living in the United States. The Bhutanese society of Kentucky says around 3,000 are now living in Louisville.

A Cricket competition brings these men - now making new lives in places like Akron, Ohio, Erie, Pennsylvania and Richmond, Virginia - back together.

“We have been playing this since childhood,” Hom Manali said.

“We were divided into 7 camps out there and we used to have inter-camp tournaments” Regmi told us.

The big difference is that, back in Nepal, a competition like this would attract thousands of screaming fans on the sidelines. Here in Louisville, it’s just a park with a boat ramp and the occasional family barbecue.

But for this tournament it really doesn't matter who's watching.

“The main goal is to get together.” Manali said, “That's the main thing.” Just that they're here.

“I'm very happy to be in America,” Dahal said.

“We have found a better home out here I guess,” Regmi added.

The competition runs through the weekend with the championship game to be played on Sunday. Anyone is invited to come and watch.

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