Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that there is no hope whatsoever at the Rio Olympics. “There was no plan regarding the Olympics when I took over the Sports Minister’s post. My vision is to aim for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics. Nine athletes are proceeding for the Olympics and five of them are wild-cards. Only four have qualified. It is up to them to show their capabilities. “We have launched a talent search for under 13 athletes.
We are hoping that they will bring home a medal,” concluded Dayasiri Jayasekera. 207 countries are vying for honours at the Rio Olympics this year. This amounts to 10, 293 athletes who have already confirmed their participation. The event will be from August 5 to 21 featuring 306 events and 28 events. From South Asian countries except Bhutan, are taking part. India is sending 120 athletes for the Games. Sri Lanka – 9, Pakistan and Nepal – 7 each, Bangladesh – 3, Maldives – 2 and Afghanistan – 1.
Brazil, the host country, has the largest number of participants which is 465, followed by Germany 425, China 413, Australia 410 and France 404. With these odds we cannot blame the honourable Minister for not betting on the contingent.”Sri Lanka could not win 50 Gold medals at the 2016 South Asian Games in India. How can we expect to fare well at the Rio Olympics?,” asks Hemasiri Fernando, President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka. “This time nine athletes are going to Rio and four of them have qualified. The other five are going as wild-cards. All coaches are proceeding to the Rio Olympics but there is no manager” Fernando went on to say. At the last South Asian Games in India Sri Lanka won 25 Gold medals, 63 Silver and 98 Bronze while India won 186 Gold, 90 Silver and 98 Bronze. In the overall medals tally India were first and Sri Lanka was second. In the history of the Olympics Sri Lanka has won two Silver medals. In 1948 Duncan White bagged the Silver in the 400 metres hurdles.
At the Sydney Olympics, Susanthika Jayasinghe won Silver in the 200 metres event. “We should win more Gold medals at South Asian Games. After that we should win Golds at Asian Games. Then we should aim at Olympics. This time we have no hopes,” he pointed out. Rifle shooter Mangala Samarakoon and Coach Pushpamali Ramanayake proceeded to Rio, Brazil on Friday (29). The rest of the Sri Lankan contingent is scheduled to take wing to Brazil on August 1 at 7.50pm. The Sri Lankan team is being led by senior marathon runner Anuradha Indrajit Cooray. This is his third Olympic outing. Previously he represented Sri Lanka at the 2004 Athens and 2012 London Olympics.
The Chief-De-Mission of the Sri Lanka team is Olympic Secretary Maxwell de Silva. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, Ministry Secretary Dr. D.M.R.D. Dissanayake and Director General Saman Bandara will be repping Sri Lanka at the OlympicsGamini Jayasinghe, Deputy Chef-De-Mission and NOC Vice President Deva Henry will take part as NOC delegates. NOC President Hemasiri Fernando too will be at the Olympics representing the National Olympic Committee.
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