Marking a new milestone in the history of sport in the country, the 1st ever edition of the South Asian Aquatic Championship was declared open in celebratory fashion last evening by the Hon. Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara at the Sugathadasa Indoor Swimming Pool Complex.
With the active participation of 7 of the South Asian countries and the presence of 400+ athletes, the 1st SAAC was declared open by the Hon. Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara. Olympian and South Asian Games gold medalist Matthew Abeysinghe read the oath on behalf of the athletes present at the occasion.
Hosts Sri Lanka fielded in the highest number of participants for the championship ahead of India followed by the other South Asian countries Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maldives, Bangladesh & Nepal.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Hon. Minister Jayasekara added these words welcoming the overseas delegations.
“I wish all the participants the very best of luck and let us forget our differences and participate in fair competition not under respective flags but as one South Asia”
Other dignitaries present at the occasion were the President of the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) Commodore Jayantha Gamage, Secretary of the SLASU Migara Gunatilake and the respective dignitaries of the sponsors.
Today (18th) marked the start of a six-day swimming championship featuring the disciplines of swimming, diving, water polo and open sea swimming and the championship is expected to conclude on the 23rd with the open sea swim at Galle Face Green. Each day the disciplines of swimming and diving will run concurrently while the water polo games will commence under lights.
Adding flair to the opening ceremony displaying the traits of Sri Lanka were the Navy dance troops accompanied by the synchronised swimming teams of Ladies’ College and Visakha Vidyalaya.
The day concluded with the start of the five-match Water polo series that will be played between Sri Lanka and India.