It was London 2012 and as the Sri Lankan flag emerged it was followed by Seven proud Lankan athletes and much to our surprise quite a large contingent of Sri Lankan officials. Now, there seems to be an odd disparity between the numbers of athletes and officials representing Sri Lanka, even if each athlete had their personal coach, therapist, manager, doctor and wife it still would not explain the large number of officials that accompanied them.
Now as Sri Lankans we do accept a bit of political corruption, sort of part and parcel of our daily lives but to the international sphere we looked like a joke. According to a Sri Lankan athlete who represented the nation at the last Olympics in London, even their coaches were not allowed to accompany them which rattled the many newcomers, instead, they had a plethora of representatives from the sports ministry, the entire National Olympic Committee and a masseuse that did not serve the players needs . This
According to a Sri Lankan athlete who represented the nation at the last Olympics in London, even their coaches were not allowed to accompany them which rattled the many newcomers. Instead, they had a plethora of representatives from the sports ministry, the entire National Olympic Committee and a masseuse that did not serve the players needs.
This ludicrous spending of tax money should not go unnoticed. In the end, we are all behind our Sri Lankan athletes but having the whole Olympic “Maha Gedhara” in the stands instead of the much-needed coaches and technical staff puts athletes at a much disadvantage.
Fast forward four years later and the same picture was painted to the outside world, this time nine athletes and forty-six officials. This reoccurring nightmare of all the aunties and uncles joining the band wagon for a free ride to foreign countries at the expense of the citizens of Sri Lanka has cast suspicion in the minds of the ‘Lokkas’.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed Sports officials to probe how 46 officials accompanied a 9-member sports team that represented Sri Lanka at the recently concluded Rio Olympics. The Prime Minister has also ordered officials to submit a full report on the activities of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka for the past five years. The Prime Minister has specially directed them to include information on those who attended the Rio Olympics from Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has made these decisions following numerous complaints received by him and President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the activities of the National Olympic Committee in the recent past and their Official participation in Rio.
The Premier has also ordered officials to submit a full report on the activities of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka for the past five years. Last year the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) withdrew Sri Lanka from hosting the 2017 Asian Youth Games due to political influence on the National Olympic Committee. A hotbed of political corruption, the National Olympic Committee would do good with a much-needed refurbishment.
The Prime Minister said the government also hopes to implement a national program aimed at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, as well as the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. “It is our hope that through this program, the nation’s talented athletes will achieve international standards through the provision of formal training,” the Prime Minister said. The future of Sri Lankan sports seems promising if all the promises are to be legitimately followed through.
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