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Hazel McCallion takes a swing in support of GTA-wide cricket tournament

Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion poses for photos with a cricket bat as Mississauga councillor Ron Starr (left) watches.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion picked up her bat on Tuesday to kick off the first-ever GTA-wide cricket tournament.

The 92-year-old politician came out to support high school cricketers from Mississauga, one of four cities participating in the tournament.

"The future is great in Mississauga for cricket," Ms. McCallion said.

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"We haven't had anything like this before," St. Francis Xavier Secondary School coach Geri Rockwood said. "[The players] were really excited about it."

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) started the high school tournament in Toronto in 2011 with the goal of engaging community and youth, tournament director Ranil Mendis said.

Despite having a difficult year for high school sports because of the teachers' strike, Mr. Mendis said this year is the first time the tournament includes teams from across the GTA – expanding from 12 Toronto teams two years ago to 58 high schools now participating across Markham, Brampton, Toronto and Mississauga.

The players are grades 10 to 12, many of whom play cricket outside of school.

Neil Ramdath played for the under-15 Canadian national cricket team in 2011.

"Mississauga actually has a lot of potential in cricket," said Mr. Ramdath, citing more than 300 members on his team. For Mr. Ramdath, the mayor's tournament exposes Mississauga cricketers to proper tournaments.

Tuesday's winner will face off against three Brampton, Markham and Toronto teams on June 1 for a shot at the GTA championship. The winning team will receive a CIBC trophy. The bank is the event's major sponsor.

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