Minister of Sports, Dayasiri Jayasekera has appointed a new National Sports Selection Committee (NSSC) comprising of former Army Chief General Daya Ratnayake (President), Gregory G.De Silva (Secretary), National Olympic Committee President Hemasiri Fernando and Sports Ministry Additional Secretary (Development) S.E.R.T.M.S.P. Bandara, with effect from May 16. Secretary Gregory De Silva, a former Richmond College Galle sportsman, captaining the school at Cricket, Soccer, Athletics and Badminton. An MSc in Human Resources, he has a Diploma in Physical Education from the United States where he lived for over 20 years.
He was a member of the committee that bid for the 2016 Olympics and was honoured with an Ambassador medal for services rendered to the U.S. government at the bid. Gregory has participated at the American Masters Games and is a qualified Track and Field judge. Speaking to the Sunday Times, Gregory said the NSSC, with a history of over 3 decades, had functioned in a small way, only in appointing selectors for Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth and World Championships which come once 4 and 2 years according to the Gazette notification. The main reason in appointing a new committee is to minimise problems in selecting teams for national and international participation, by Sports Federations.
Mindful of this, the Minister appointed the new committee with more muscle, headed by independent personalities such as Daya Ratnayake and Gregory De Silva. Gregory revealed the new committee’s recommendations to the Minister in preparing a policy plan and criteria to be forwarded to the sports federations and hence, calling for views and recommendations from Sports veterans and the public. Subsequently, the committee expects to maintain contacts with the Sports federations to organise Workshops, to ensure selector-presence at every Sporting event conducted by the respective SFs and to be transparent in their selections which will be monitored closely by the NSSC.
Gregory went on to say that, at the moment, there are about 59 Sports bodies affiliated to the Ministry of Sports. In the event of recommending selectors to the Minister, the NSSC requests the Sports Federations to submit the names of 10 nominees, along with their bio-data. The NSSC will select 5 names to be submitted to the Minister for approval. Gregory also expects the SF selectors to be fair and honest in making their selections which will do a lot of good for the Sport as well as for the competitors. When the correct man is in the correct position, making the correct decisions, it will eradicate the problems in team selections.
The NSSC intends to direct the Sports Federations to select pools in advance and put them into training, from which a final pool of 15 or 20 players to be trained in the presence of the selectors. De Silva also said that, excluding a talented competitor who had proved his/her capabilities, is a violation of that competitor’s Fundamental Rights. In conclusion, Gregory said the trust and confidence with which the Minister appointed the new committee, will be safeguarded to the utmost, and expects their policy plan and criteria to come into effect from next year.
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