The inauguration ceremony of the development project at Diyagama International Sports Complex and the National Sports Academy was held today (29) under the patronage of Minister of Sports Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara.
Under this development project a 400-meter synthetic track, 50 m swimming pool, cricket ground, an internationally equipped sports academy, modern gymnasium, baseball ground, lecture halls, conference halls, hostels and a national sports school is set to be completed making the facility one of the leading sports complexes in the region.
The construction work at the Diyagama international stadium commenced in the year 2008 but the construction work had halted halfway through. With the assistance of Sri Lanka Army, the development work is expected to be completed by 2020 at an estimated cost of Rs.7500 million. A memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Sports and the Sri Lanka Army was signed on this occasion. Secretary of the Sports Ministry Jayantha Wijeratne and Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage signed the document on behalf of their respective institutions.
Addressing the media regarding the mega development project, Minister of Sport Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara added that “We have allocated Rs. 1,500 million this year for the Ministry of Sports. 310 million has been allocated for this artificial track. This is where the future affairs take place through the National Sports Academy. A panel has been appointed for this”
“The Swimming pool did not meet the international standards, there were many shortcomings. We have already discussed with the members of the National Swimming technical committee and have planned to rectify these flaws to suit the international standards. Also, the international stadium is built at a 11m height whereas it needs to be 13m to meet the international requirements. The most important thing is the National Sports School. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Sports are planning to bring together the best players in local schools and we will give them the opportunity to continue their training in the morning and after school.”
Minister Jayasekara also hinted on the possibility of Diyagama becoming the latest addition to the countries international cricket venues “Thilanga Sumathipala, Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), has requested me to give the opportunity to make the cricket grounds an international cricket ground. Accordingly, an international cricket pitch in the future will also be built here “
Speaking about the synthetic track that will be built on the current rugby ground at Diyagama, he went on to add that “The existing artificial track in this place has become obscure. We hope to build this brand new 400meter track before the current one is modernized. Currently, we have only one track which is at Sugathadasa Sports Complex. Its work will be completed in just a few days. In addition, it is expected to complete the artificial tracks at Ratnapura, Matara, Bingiriya and Matale sports complexes. Our expectation is to set up nine artificial track runs in the provinces.”
Apart from Athletics, Rugby, Baseball, Basketball, Handball, Shooting and Archery are some of the many sports that will have facilities once completed at the venue. The complex will be able to house 33 teams at one time, while having the capacity to hold 4000 spectators. The Sports Academy which will be built to international standards will be for students from grade 7 till advanced level classes where they will be able to engage in sporting activities while also gaining top class education.
This project has received monetary allocations through the 2017 budget while talks are ongoing with local and international representatives in order to obtain possible grants or loans to finance the development work. With Sri Lanka being named as the host country for the South Asian games in year 2021, it is important that the necessary infrastructure work is completed in order to hold a successful campaign.